Three groups of interventions that Singapore can invest in

While there are specific areas Singapore can invest in under the various Alliances for Action (AfAs), the Emerging Stronger Taskforce conceived of them broadly as three groups of interventions, its co-chairman Tan Chong Meng said yesterday.

They are: sectors where resilience needs to be strengthened and addressed very quickly; those where transformation has to be accelerated; and the ones that promise new growth.

AfAs are private-public partnerships to tackle challenges and seize opportunities, and are a key plank of the task force's work. They involve several companies as well as public sector agencies.

The first group had to make immediate changes in order to find new relevance or new business models, and their workers had to quickly pivot by reskilling and upskilling, said Mr Tan, who is the group chief executive of PSA International.

He cited the AfA on digitalising the built environment as an example. It launched a common set of data standards to encourage digital collaboration and integration of work processes across the value chain.

"There was a pressing need to increase the resilience of this sector... One uniting force was digitalisation, which could help the companies and workers take on more productive approaches and also value-added roles," he said.

For sectors where transformation had to be stepped up, he cited how the alliance on robotics developed solutions to address manpower issues and boost productivity in transport and cleaning.

It held commercial trials of on-demand private bus services at Singapore Science Park 2 and Jurong Island to test the commercial viability and public acceptance of autonomous vehicle solutions.

These were done with a view for companies here to export solutions and become global champions, said Mr Tan.

"The use of autonomous solutions in robotics is not foreign in the industrial environment, but in urban spaces and social contexts, many of them are still in the development phases."

As for sectors with potential for growth, Mr Tan cited how the AfA on sustainability identified the voluntary carbon market as an opportunity Singapore is well placed to pursue.

It aims to build a marketplace to trade high-quality carbon credits, building on its position in Asia, which is a key source of nature-based solutions offsets, its reputation for trust and integrity, and its strengths in professional and financial services and commodity trading.

Task force co-chairman and National Development Minister Desmond Lee said: "This growing demand for a green economy, green businesses, green jobs and green opportunities presents a chance for Singapore to capture a first-mover advantage." - GRACE HO