Wednesday 23 December 2015

Committee On The Future Economy: Committee to review Singapore's economic strategies revealed

30-member committee to chart future of economy
Business leaders will join Heng Swee Keat and four other ministers to study 5 key areas
By Chia Yan Min, Economics Correspondent, The Straits Times, 22 Dec 2015

A committee tasked with charting the course of Singapore's economic future will be made up of 30 members, including government officials and leaders of companies large and small.

The Committee on the Future Economy will study five key areas that are crucial to sustaining economic growth vital to Singapore's future.

One key focus for the committee is to identify future growth industries and markets, and help firms seize opportunities in those areas.

Also at the top of the list is giving strategies to cultivate innovation and grow the use of technology among companies here.

For workers, there will be a detailed study on how technology and demographics will impact the labour force, which will help aid workers as they retool themselves for the new economy.

The committee will also draw up plans to develop Singapore's infrastructure, while paying attention to making living spaces sustainable.

Lastly, there will also be attention paid to entrenching Singapore's position as a hub for Asia, amid growing connectivity in the region.

The committee is chaired by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, and aims to complete its work by the end of next year.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran is the deputy chairman. Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and NTUC secretary-general and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing are also on the committee.

The vast majority of the members are drawn from the private sector.

These include business associations and multinational companies such as Shell and the Boston

Consulting Group, as well as local enterprises such as the Timbre Group, ST Engineering and Sing Lun Holdings.

Mr Heng said the formation of the committee comes at an "important juncture" for Singapore, with businesses and workers "facing difficult adjustments" in the face of slowing global growth and rising costs.

"We hope to go beyond seeking their views, to working with and supporting them to lead and champion some of the transformation processes," he said.

The practice of setting up such a committee is not new; similar efforts were undertaken in 2001 and 2009.

Members said both Singapore and the world have changed significantly since the last committee gave its recommendations. They noted that this committee will have to tackle a wide range of issues, from disruptive technologies to the ageing population's impact on Singapore.

Mr Edward Chia, managing director of dining and live music chain Timbre Group, said it is essential that Singapore "finds that balance for technology to complement the human workforce" in its efforts to become a "smart nation".

"Technology is sometimes mistrusted in many industries as it has the potential to displace workers. However, harnessed well, technology can certainly play an important role in labour-constrained societies like in Singapore," he said.

Another key focus involves ensuring that people at all stages of life can contribute to the economy, said Ms Chia Yong Yong, a consultant at Yusarn Audrey, a law firm specialising in intellectual property.

This includes "looking at the extent to which one truly retires, and what happens post-retirement".

In addition to long-term challenges, the committee should also tackle shorter-term issues such as the cost and manpower constraints business are facing, said Singapore Business Federation chairman Teo Siong Seng. This will help them transit from current difficult conditions to the future economy, he said.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Koh

Gearing Singapore up for the futureWe released the scope and composition of the Committee on the Future Economy today....
Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Transformation to digital economy 'a top priority'
Committee charting Singapore's economic future faces long and tough road ahead, say analysts, industry figures
By Rachael Boon, The Straits Times, 22 Dec 2015

Transforming Singapore to embrace innovation and become a digital economy should be among the committee's top priorities, but a long and tough road lies ahead.

Analysts, economists, industry players and MPs yesterday noted the challenges the new body will face, such as a maturing economy and finite resources.

These were among the reactions to the unveiling of the new 30-member committee - which includes government officials and business leaders - formed to draw up plans for the country's economic future.

The committee will tackle five key areas: Future growth industries and markets, corporate capabilities and innovation, jobs and skills, urban development and infrastructure, and connectivity.

Ms Foo Mee Har, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, said corporate capabilities and innovation should be the most important, to help firms adopt new technology and ideas.

"I hope the committee's recommendations would take learning from the past, consolidate existing programmes, and launch breakthrough initiatives and unique business models that will give Singapore a true global competitive and comparative advantage," she told The Straits Times.

OCBC economist Selena Ling questioned how the committee would fit "the rise of the digital economy and disruptive technologies" into one of the five key areas.

Committees that focused on economic strategies to remake Singapore and its economy were created in 2001 and 2009.

Their work has often been seen as a blueprint to help the nation stay ahead as a global economy.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, the chairman of the GPC for Finance and Trade and Industry, said that Singapore needs to expect constant change as a given.

The committee, he added, will have to develop strategies to help companies and employees keep up with the "fast pace of technological changes" in the areas of skills and employment.

Analysts also want the committee to address the perennial challenge of helping small and medium- sized enterprises grow to be strong and better engines of the economy.

Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan said that beyond the terms of reference, "the committee will have to deep dive into the major or fundamental issues such as growing the SMEs, immigration and manpower policy, as part of the overall plan of driving indigenous economic activity".

He deemed those areas "integral to any assessment of what stands in the way of the economy transforming decisively".

Ms Ling emphasised that local enterprise and innovation must still play an important role in the area of jobs and skills.

Ms Kuik Xiao Shi, chief operating officer of beauty mobile application Vanitee, said: "In the next 50 years, what could really move the needle for Singapore's future economy are businesses that are driven by technology and are global in nature.

"I would like to see a strategy that takes active steps to identify and support these key industry trends which have the potential and capabilities for Singapore's home-grown companies to create innovative business models and scale internationally."

The Straits Times, 22 Dec 2015


Mr Teo Siong Seng, 61, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, the biggest business association here, representing more than 18,000 firms.

Dr Robert Yap, 63, president of the Singapore National Employers Federation, which represents the interests of employers in national tripartite committees, forums and national-level reviews.


Ms Cham Hui Fong, 47, assistant secretary-general and director of industrial relations at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).


Ms Chia Yong Yong, 53, partner at Yusarn Audrey, a law firm which focuses on intellectual property, and president of SPD, which helps people with disabilities.

Ms Rachel Eng, 44, joint managing partner at WongPartnership, a law firm with offices in places like Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Yangon.


Ms Mariam Jaafar, 38, partner and managing director (Singapore) of The Boston Consulting Group, which has offices in 46 countries.

Mr Jean-Luc Butel, 59, president of K8 Global, and senior adviser of McKinsey & Company's healthcare practice.


Ms Goh Swee Chen, 55, chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore. The global energy giant was one of the earliest multinational investors here.

Mr Mark Lee, 42, chief executive officer of apparel manufacturer Sing Lun Holdings.

Mr Fabian Wong, 55, chief executive officer of Philips in Asean and Pacific. The lifestyle electronics giant sells a range of products, including healthcare.

Mr Russell Tham, 47, regional president (South-east Asia) and corporate vice-president of Applied Materials. The company creates engineering solutions for the semiconductor and flat-panel display industries.

Mr Vincent Chong, 46, president and chief executive officer (designate) of ST Engineering, which focuses on solutions for the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors.


Mr Christian Bischoff, 56, founder and executive chairman of Pan Asia Logistics.

Mr Tan Chong Meng, 55, group chief executive officer of port operator PSA International.


Mr Han Kwee Juan, 48, chief executive officer of Citibank Singapore.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat, 42, executive vice-president and head of forex research at Maybank Group.


Mr Bill Chang, 49, country chief officer for Singapore and chief executive officer of group enterprise at Singtel.

Mr Forrest Li, 38, founder, chairman and group chief executive officer of Garena, which began as a computer gaming platform and branched into mobile e-commerce and chat applications.

Mr Azmoon Ahmad, 53, senior vice-president and member of executive management at Desay SV Automotive, which researches and manufactures systems used in vehicles.


Mr Lim Chow Kiat, 45, group chief investment officer of GIC.

Mr Lim Der Shing, 40, venture partner at Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based venture firm that invests in Asia.

Mr Harish Manwani, 63, global executive adviser of private equity at Blackstone.

Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, 52, head of the enterprise development group at Temasek Holdings.


Mr Edward Chia, 31, co-founder and managing director of Timbre Group, a music lifestyle company.

Ms Susan Chong, 46, founder and chief executive officer of Greenpac, which helps companies re-engineer packaging processes.

* 5 sub-groups to study key areas of Future Economy
Issues include corporate capabilities and innovation, connectivity, and jobs and skills
By Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 12 Jan 2016

In a first step towards shaping Singapore's next phase of restructuring, the steering committee for the Future Economy is breaking out into five sub-groups to review key issues in depth.

Each sub-committee is co- chaired by a minister and a representative from the private sector, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told reporters after the committee's first meeting at The Treasury yesterday.

Mr Heng and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) chairman Teo Siong Seng co-chair the sub-committee on future corporate capabilities and innovation.

By seeking views from start-ups, local firms and multinationals, this group will recommend strategies for industry clusters to create value using new business models and partnerships.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran and McKinsey senior adviser Jean-Luc Butel co-chair the sub-committee that will identify future growth industries and markets.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, co-chairs the sub-committee on the future of connectivity, which will study how Singapore can retain its well-connected "hub" status as the world changes.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong co-chairs the future city sub-committee, which will study how Singapore can overcome land and labour constraints to grow sustainably.

Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung is the co-chair of the future jobs and skills sub-committee.

The five sub-committees will meet soon after their members are finalised, and the main committee will meet every three months, said Mr Heng.

"We have also commissioned papers. For instance, the universities have been asked to look at specific issues, how they can play a role in the Singapore economy.

"So, there is a lot of parallel work that will take place," he added.

He also emphasised that the goal of the Future Economy Committee is to "create good jobs, good opportunities for Singaporeans and Singapore businesses... It is not about one group or another".

Mr Heng was responding to a question from The Straits Times about the SBF's controversial "wish list" for businesses that it intends to present to him today, as well as the unusually large business representation on the steering committee - 25 of its 30 members lead local or multinational businesses.

Mr Iswaran said: "Inevitably, different groups will have their own perspectives about what needs to be done... (but) you need these diverse views to come together in order to form a strategy that is durable."

Mr Heng said it is too early to judge how the committee's report will look when it is submitted at the end of the year, but added: "We had a very fruitful discussion.

"We talked through major trends happening around the world and on the impact these will have on Singapore."

Investments in people and knowledge, innovation, integration, and internationalization. These are the four principles...
Posted by Ministry of Finance (Singapore) on Monday, January 11, 2016

Sub-committees and their co-chairs
The Straits Times, 12 Jan 2016


• Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance

• Mr Teo Siong Seng, chairman, Singapore Business Federation


• Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)

• Mr Jean-Luc Butel, president, K8 Global, and senior adviser, McKinsey & Company


• Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, and secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress

• Ms Mariam Jaafar, partner and managing director (Singapore), The Boston Consulting Group


• Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development

• Mr Tan Chong Meng, group CEO, PSA International


• Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education, (Higher Education and Skills)

• Mr Bill Chang, country chief officer, Singapore, and CEO, group enterprise, Singtel

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