Finance Minister Lawrence Wong gave opening remarks during the Singapore Regional Business Forum on 22 March. He discussed several imperatives that aimed to make the country “fairer, greener, and more inclusive.”
Wong said Singapore is redoubling its efforts to build a more connected, innovative, and resilient economy. He enumerated several long-term projects that will contribute to these objectives, such as enhancing physical infrastructure like Tuas Mega Port and Changi Airport Terminal 5, as well as digital infrastructures like the broadband network and new technologies like 6G. Wong added their strong connectivity made the country a hub for business, finance, trade, and even data flows. He also mentioned strengthening the support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by allocating some of the 2022 Budget for their innovation. He noted this will create more opportunities for SMEs to partner with research centres.
Wong gave his suggestions to make the country’s economy more resilient:
- Ensure sound and stable finances. He said Singapore was fortunate to have accumulated reserves due to their “forefathers upholding the attitude of fiscal discipline.” Today, he said the reserves were being used as a steady source of annual government income, as well as a critical buffer, as seen during the COVID-19 crisis which they have already drawn $40b for.
- Invest in people. Wong said the government has been heavily investing in education with projects like the KidSTART and SkillsFuture, which is part of the $1b yearly allocations for education. He added working with businesses and employers are also important.
- Strengthen social impact. The finance minister highlighted initiatives tackling inequality and uplifting low-wage workers.
Wong concluded that the country has successfully tackled multiple crises in previous years and decades, especially during the pandemic of the past two years, and have been achieving good results. In the process, he said they have built strong partnerships between the government, trade associations and chambers, businesses and unions.