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The Future and Challenges to the Singapore Economy

Future of Singapore (FOSG) held a zoom webinar on "The Future and Challenges to the Singapore Economy" on 17 April 2021. In this ground breaking discussion, Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist of GIC started the session with his perspective of the context of the challenges to the Singapore economy and offered some approaches and solutions to unchoke Singapore economic meridian (see below) Following, we heard excellent new ideas by Inderjit Singh (PAP), successful international industrialist and policy maker on the need for a state led renaissance of manufacturing sector with constructive comments as well as novel contributions by Leong Mun Wai (PSP), Yee Jen Jong (WP), Alfred Tan (SDP). Tay Kheng Soon, veteran architect and town planner further illuminated the structural proposals with his vision for mindset change in society, turning our tertiary institutions into a Silicon Valley. The discussion was ably chaired by Kevin Tan with perspicacious round up by Manu Bhaskaran. This is a good example of an open and critical yet very constructive multi party yet non partisan discussion of a difficult, complex yet vitally important policy issue. Alfred's contribution of test bedding to Inderjit’s bold new proposal for a national prototyping hub development is a good example of this.

A copy of Inderjit Singh’s excellent policy paper on revitalizing manufacturing in Singapore is attached herein (STRATEGIES TO INCREASE MANUFACTURING CONTRIBUTION OF THE SINGAPORE ECONOMY)

The problem context :

A fractured globalization with Singapore caught between pro US and pro China blocs, disruptive technological revolutions to jobs and global supply chains in AI, the internet of things and 3D printing and of course future pandemics

The three main strategic deficits in our economic structure and policy preventing us from adequately navigating these huge, destabilizing forces clouding Singapore’s future :

  1. Declining and uncertain competitiveness owing to excessive reliance on footloose and fickle foreign capital and a weak and declining GLC sector

  2. Excessive reliance in foreign labour that threatens to lead to an explosive terminal population and depress productivity and the shift to high quality jobs

  3. An insufficient integration into an ASEAN free trade area that is as important economically as China and India in our economic future.

Key elements of the solution: a best practice industrial policy targeted at our hollowed out SMEs, a vital enabling financial and cost infrastructure, a revival of manufacturing, strategic focus on prototyping and testbedding, creating regional manufacturing supply chains, management restructuring and change in the GLC corporate culture to a more entrepreneurial stakeholder rather than shareholder orientation, state and GLC led SME regionalization.

Here is the video recording of the discussion:


FOS is an independent think-tank, a nonpartisan research and discussion forum led by a team of resourceful people with expertise and knowledge on specific topics and ability to elucidate their  interrelated implications.

It is open to all Singapore citizens whether residing in Singapore or overseas. Everyone participates as an independent individual.  

The Administrator of FOS shall be the ombudsman who shall adjudicate on the admissibility of a post.

The flow of ideas will be collated by topic and be retained and be available online. 

FACILITATORS: The facilitators will serve each for a specific term and retire and be replaced in turn according to a declared operating charter. There shall be a resource panel of experts on each of the topic areas made up of eminent persons known for their independence and integrity. Facilitators are initially self-appointed.

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