Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat considers focusing on ‘structural policies’ as imperative in this time of fragility in the global economy and not the crafting of ‘extraordinary measures.’
He announced that the Government intends to hold more extensive consultations with business leaders in the coming months as it maps out measures to weather the storm.
“We are at a state of the global economy where there are significant weaknesses,” said Mr Heng, who was speaking to Singapore media in Beijing.
“We have been monitoring this very closely over the last few months already and there are a number of things that we can do.”
“Budget 2020 is coming up in a few months’ time and we will continue to monitor the state of the global economy and there are many sectors in our economy that are still growing,.”
“So you see, while overall there is weakness, you see fairly uneven performances across the different areas. But we are not at the stage where we need to amount to extraordinary measures. So what we need to continue to focus on, is on structural policies,” he stressed.
The country’s industry transformation maps are an important part of this and Mr Heng said that launching it has given Singapore a head start.
This is because people now have a better understanding of the opportunities offered by technological advances.
“I think that the fourth industrial revolution is coming – we are at a very early stage. But the earlier we prepare for it, the better we are able to ride this wave of growth,” said Mr Heng.
“What I am hoping to do is to get businesses and business leaders to be much more involved in thinking about these issues and working together even as they compete with one another.”
Chinese leaders vis-a-vis Singapore’s 4G
During his four-day visit to China, Mr Heng was asked about the relationship between Chinese leaders and Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders.
Mr Heng informed the media that several members of the 4G leadership have been involved in various bilateral and business councils for several years and have become more deeply involved as they rise through the ranks.
“Take for example Minister Desmond Lee. Yesterday was my first visit to Tianjin but it was his third visit. He’s been there because he’s been a deputy for some of the meetings already. So he’s not alien to them,” said Mr Heng. This is the case for other ministers as well.
“They’ve all been involved in various ways. So the engagements did not just start,” said Mr Heng.
Moving forward, Mr Heng added that Singapore must stay relevant and see how it can play a role at various stages of the country’s development.
“I think the restoration of global confidence is important for investors. It is important for us to tackle these longer-term challenges and important for us to harness the use of better technology in the coming years,” DPM Heng affirmed. /TISG