Tan Wu Meng outlines transformation plans


AN underlying theme of this year's Budget is how companies in Singapore should adapt and stay alive to transformation, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng at a seminar on Wednesday.

"Our enterprises and workers can respond to global trends and technology changes, and stay ahead by actively transforming to ensure that we have the capabilities and skillsets to remain relevant," he said at a post-Budget event organised by the sgsme.sg portal.

In his remarks, Dr Tan, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, outlined a four-pronged approach to prepare Singapore for this next stage of growth.

The first strategy aims to develop markets and market opportunities. This will involve deepening and diversifying trade linkages through free trade agreements to create greater market access for Singapore businesses.

"We are also positioning ourselves as a key node in global flows through non-physical modes of connectivity, such as data and financial linkages," Dr Tan said.

The second strategy is to revitalise existing industries and infrastructure. New technology will be used to develop new economic activities such as advanced manufacturing and agri-tech.

Dr Tan also stressed the importance of collaboration between academia, industry and research institutes to develop both industries and companies, by achieving actionable market outcomes through research.

The third strategy is aimed at developing enterprises through upskilling workers and investing in technology. This will enable enterprises to scale up and expand both domestically and globally, and strengthens manpower.

The last approach seeks to develop enablers, by implementing agile regulations and reducing administrative costs and inefficiencies, as well as promoting a competitive and well-functioning market.

"Part of that is continuing to build a living culture of transformation where whenever we look at the rule we ask, why is the rule there in the first place? Is there a better way to do things?" said Dr Tan.

He also underscored the government's intention to strengthen partnership with stakeholders, such as trade associations and chambers (TACs). He noted that TACs offer a pool of social capital, shared experiences and networks. "It must be a team effort. The government remains committed to enabling our companies to transform, grow, and achieve their vision," Dr Tan said.