Friday 30 October 2015

Five future challenges for Singapore economy

Committee will look at these areas - jobs, companies, resources, technology, markets
By Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 29 Oct 2015

The challenge of moving the Singapore economy up the innovation ladder, from being one that is "value-adding" to a "value-creating" one, will be a key focus of the team set up to chart the Republic's economic direction.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who will chair The Future Economy committee, framed Singapore's challenges through the lens of the "five futures" - of jobs, of companies, of resources, of technology and of markets.

I had a good dialogue with the Singapore Business Federation this week. SBF members spoke frankly with me on the...
Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Friday, October 30, 2015

On jobs, Mr Heng noted that "it may not be immediate but if we look at a 10-, 15-year timeframe, the nature of jobs will change".

With 3D-printing and additive manufacturing changing how factories are being configured, Mr Heng said, "how do we build skills and redesign jobs so that workers can be at their best and that talent can be maximised?"

He was speaking to reporters after a closed-door dialogue with business leaders at the Singapore Business Federation on Wednesday (Oct 28).

A second key challenge is that the "future of companies" will be marked by the rise of disruptive business models and competition from abroad. So staying competitive means exploring "cooperative platforms" for different business clusters to cooperate with one another and maximise capabilities, said Mr Heng.

Technology undeniably presents a challenge and, while Singapore has invested heavily in education, research and development, the "future of technology" hinges on how this can be translated into innovative processes, said Mr Heng.

But not all innovations are technology-related and another challenge, the "future of resources", looks at how to organise one's resources like land or staff in creative and competitive ways, he added.

A fifth area, the "future of markets", is important because if firms expand overseas, "we transcend the Singapore market, we achieve scale", said Mr Heng.

The formation of this committee was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier this month as Singapore faces a leaner workforce, tapering growth and a weaker global economy.

Yesterday, Mr Heng also announced that Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), will be deputy chairman of the new committee and is now helping him to select other members from a shortlist. The line-up will be announced by early December.

Mr Heng said the team will measure success by the opportunities and jobs it creates for Singaporeans, since a shift to higher skills indirectly addresses productivity issues. "Higher skills, higher productivity, higher wages - that is the virtuous circle that we hope to achieve."

This is in contrast to the hard annual productivity growth targets set out by the last economic review committee in 2010. The report and its recommendations are expected to be issued a year later.

What should the Future Economy committee focus on? ST business editor Lee Su Shyan asks experts.
Posted by The Straits Times on Saturday, October 17, 2015

Firms must lead way in creating value: Heng
They play critical role in paving way for shift to future economy: Finance Minister
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 5 Nov 2015

Businesses here must lead the way in creating value for Singapore's future economy, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

Reiterating the need for the Republic to shift from a value-adding economy to a value-creating one to stay ahead of the competition, Mr Heng said companies function as the "building blocks of our economy".

"A value-creating economy is hence built on these building blocks - a network of innovative, entrepreneurial companies that can continually create value that exceeds the cost of its inputs," he said.

"We have to produce what the rest of the world is not producing, or at least, not much of it. To do so, we have to build deep capabilities and linkages in our companies, in our industries and in our economy, to create new products and deliver better solutions in cost-effective, innovative ways."

Meet Techi, a cute robot that delivers food to customers, takes orders and clean tables. Hmm, will be a good...
Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mr Heng was speaking at the Semi-Centennial Leadership Conference at the Suntec convention centre. The event was organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

He said it is important that companies tackle the five areas that are critical for Singapore's future economy: companies, jobs, markets, technology and resources.

Businesses, for instance, need to "deepen corporate and innovative capabilities to prepare for the future of companies", he said, citing Boustead Singapore as an example.

The company in the 1960s had rethought its business model and shifted from distributing major brands to infrastructure-related engineering services, enabling it to achieve success today.

Mr Heng also urged businesses to seize opportunities to connect to regional and global markets, so that they can "transcend the size of our domestic market and build scale".

"Singapore is already an externally oriented economy, but we need to delve further into strategies to help our companies expand into these markets amid rising competition," he said.

"Internationalisation is complex. This is why good business leadership is key to help organise ourselves to better connect to regional and global markets."

SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng, who also spoke at the conference, voiced similar sentiments. He said Singapore firms must tap opportunities that come with developments such as the Asean Economic Community, China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Yesterday, 50 companies received the Singapore Golden Jubilee Business Awards for their achievements and contributions over the decades.

Among the recipients was Boustead Singapore, the oldest organisation at 187 years old. Others included OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, Sing Lun Investments, Keppel Singmarine, Hong Leong Investment Holdings, Cathay Organisation and Yeo Hiap Seng.

"These businesses stayed mindful of domestic and global changes, to ensure that their businesses remained relevant to the needs of their time," said Mr Heng.

"We need to continue to embody this pioneering spirit."

No comments:

Post a Comment