Monday, August 31, 2020

Singapore way forward? May its people unite and propel forward.

First, Singapore needs to take an even more integrated and coordinated approach to economic transformation, he said.

He noted that the Republic's economy has multiple stakeholders, and tripartism - the Government, businesses and the labour movement working together - has been a tremendous source of strength in the system.

But there is room for greater collaboration, he said, citing the Netherlands and its "triple helix" model of innovation where government, businesses and academia work together to build knowledge, test prototypes and scale innovation.

"Singapore can build on our tripartite partnership to be a test-bed that create deeper linkages with an expanded set of stakeholders - including our education and research institutions, our community groups, and interested partners from around the world," said Mr Heng. This can create good jobs for Singaporeans and new opportunities for entrepreneurs, he added.

Second, Singapore must redouble its efforts to develop everyone to his fullest potential, so that its people can take on new opportunities and flourish in their chosen pursuits, said Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Finance Minister.

"We need a holistic approach for this that spans the lifetime of individuals, from birth to pre-school to schools, all the way to lifelong learning as part of SkillsFuture," he said, noting that workers are embracing upskilling, with about half a million people taking part in SkillsFuture programmes in 2019.

The country has to explore new possibilities for developing its people fully, Mr Heng emphasised, highlighting that the National Research Foundation is supporting research programmes that address the broader goal of enhancing human potential through measures during pregnancy and childhood, including nutrition, parenting and learning.

Third, Singapore must strengthen its path-finding capacity to find new bright spots amid economic disruption, Mr Heng said, pointing to the Emerging Stronger Taskforce that was set up four months ago to identify and seize new opportunities in emerging trends.

"The ideas being explored are promising. They range from environmental sustainability to smart commerce, supply chain digitalisation and the use of robotics. These can create new growth markets for our businesses and good jobs for Singaporeans," he added.

In addition, Singapore will invest in incubating and accelerating start-ups, and supporting established companies to expand their research and development to build competitive strengths, Mr Heng said.

"Such a vibrant innovation ecosystem will build up our path-finding capabilities."

Fourth, the Republic must find new ways to be a vital node with rich and deep interconnections with the rest of the world, Mr Heng said, noting that being open is its strength and opportunity given its position as a small city-state. 

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