5 sub-groups to study key areas of Future Economy

(From left): Ms Susan Chong (Founder and CEO, Greenpac), Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister S Iswaran, and Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Executive Vice President, Head of FX Research, Global Markets, Global Banking, Maybank Group).
Ministry of Communications and Information

In a first step towards shaping Singapore's next phase of restructuring, the steering committee for the Future Economy is breaking out into five sub-groups to review key issues in depth.

Each sub-committee is co- chaired by a minister and a representative from the private sector, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told reporters after the committee's first meeting at The Treasury yesterday.

Mr Heng and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) chairman Teo Siong Seng co-chair the sub-committee on future corporate capabilities and innovation.

By seeking views from start-ups, local firms and multinationals, this group will recommend strategies for industry clusters to create value using new business models and partnerships.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran and McKinsey senior adviser Jean-Luc Butel co-chair the sub-committee that will identify future growth industries and markets.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, co-chairs the sub-committee on the future of connectivity, which will study how Singapore can retain its well-connected "hub" status as the world changes.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong co-chairs the future city sub-committee, which will study how Singapore can overcome land and labour constraints to grow sustainably.

Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung is the co-chair of the future jobs and skills sub-committee. The five sub-committees will meet soon after their members are finalised, and the main committee will meet every three months, said Mr Heng.

"We have also commissioned papers. For instance, the universities have been asked to look at specific issues, how they can play a role in the Singapore economy.

"So, there is a lot of parallel work that will take place," he added.

He also emphasised that the goal of the Future Economy Committee is to "create good jobs, good opportunities for Singaporeans and Singapore businesses... It is not about one group or another".

Mr Heng was responding to a question from The Straits Times about the SBF's controversial "wish list" for businesses that it intends to present to him today, as well as the unusually large business representation on the steering committee - 25 of its 30 members lead local or multinational businesses.

Mr Iswaran said: "Inevitably, different groups will have their own perspectives about what needs to be done... (but) you need these diverse views to come together in order to form a strategy that is durable."

Mr Heng said it is too early to judge how the committee's report will look when it is submitted at the end of the year, but added: "We had a very fruitful discussion.

"We talked through major trends happening around the world and on the impact these will have on Singapore."


This article was first published on Jan 12, 2016.
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