To grow, Singapore must reopen safely and sustainably: Chan Chun Sing
For Singapore to grow, it needs to reopen its economy safely and sustainably, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
This requires businesses to resume their operations progressively, with tight safe management measures in place for higher-risk activities.
"We will expand our testing and contact tracing capacity significantly, so that we can isolate clusters swiftly and effectively, to allow the rest of the economy to continue operating," Mr Chan said in the Ministry of Trade and Industry's (MTI's) Addendum to the President's Address.
MTI will also facilitate safe business travel, both short- and long-term, with a view to eventually resuming international travel.
It is one way to help businesses and workers tap global opportunities and create good jobs, he added.
MTI is among five ministries and agencies that released their Addenda yesterday. The others are the Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Communications and Information, Monetary Authority of Singapore and National Research Foundation.
The theme for their Addenda is "weathering the storm and seizing new opportunities to transform our economy".
MTI's Addendum, which sets out a slew of its priorities in the new term of government, also pointed to another major move that Singapore needs to undertake: Bolstering its connectivity and hub status.
This includes building up links with the world for markets, supplies, technology and talent.
In addition, MTI will work with like-minded partners to reaffirm a shared commitment to keeping trade routes open and ensuring the continued flow of goods between countries.
Trade in the digital economy will also get a boost through digital economy agreements.
These agreements provide ease and certainty to companies, and can better enable technology companies to use Singapore as the location for managing their global platforms and digital services, Mr Chan said.
He assured Singaporeans and businesses of the Government's commitment to creating opportunities for them, by helping them adapt to a changing world economy.
As for sectors that continue to see growth opportunities, such as biomedical sciences, electronics, financial services and the digital economy, the ministry will help them invest and expand.
Those that suffered a plunge in demand but will eventually recover, such as the aerospace, and marine and offshore sectors, will have their core capabilities preserved so that they can remain competitive and recover quickly from the crisis.
In sectors that have changed permanently, including mass market tourism and social entertainment, support will be available for businesses to pivot to new markets and products.
But Mr Chan cautioned that not all businesses and jobs can be saved, and added that those who are retrenched will receive help to develop new skills and find new jobs.