Formulating policies that will 'benefit all' a key challenge for every country: S Iswaran

SINGAPORE: The pace of global economic change, as well as trends like digitalisation, will create opportunities but also cause "dislocations" for both firms and workers, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran on Friday (Oct 20)."The challenge for every nation is to formulate a policy response to seize these new opportunities, mitigate the disruption to jobs and industries and ensure inclusive economic growth that can benefit all," Mr Iswaran said at the 2017 Singapore Economic Policy Forum.He noted that while the Singapore Government’s policies, which are aimed at internationalising and embracing technological change, are supported by "sound economic theory", they could also lead to other concerns.“An open and accommodative stance towards global markets and technological change does not only bring opportunity – it is also a source of greater competition and may cause some in society to be left behind," he said.STAGNATION OF INCOMESMr Iswaran outlined two key challenges against this backdrop – the stagnation of incomes, as well as different levels of productivity among firms.
SME Go Digital programme launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the upcoming SME Digital Tech Hub will encourage and assist SMEs in understanding and adopting relevant tech solutions for their businesses.
Mr Iswaran said the rapid growth of the Association of South-east Asian Nations presents significant opportunities for Singapore.
Noting that the Asian economy is projected to grow by 6.4 per cent this year, compared to the 2 per cent figure for advanced economies, he added that companies need to position themselves to leverage this.
He highlighted that Government agencies have worked together with Trade Associations and Chambers, unions and businesses to develop Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for 23 industries across Singapore's economy, from retail to precision engineering.
These ITMs are tailored to tailored to the needs of each industry, to help drive productivity and innovation, invest in skills and promote internationalisation, said Mr Iswaran.
So far, nine ITMs have already been launched as of Oct 20, and the Singapore Government will roll out the remaining 14 within the 2017 financial year.
Source: CNA/nc