Minister: Singapore needs long-term view in economic strategies, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Minister: Singapore needs long-term view in economic strategies

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Minister says Govt monitoring developments closely as country's growth slows

Singapore has to adopt a targeted and long-term perspective in its economic strategies, even as it tackles short-term headwinds posed by the challenging global environment, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

The Government is monitoring developments closely as Singapore's economic growth slows and stands ready to support Singaporeans - particularly the most vulnerable - should conditions worsen, he said yesterday.

But one has to first be clear about the cause of the "illness" to deliver the right medicine, he added, as he set out why the current downturn is unlike past financial crises.

Speaking at a National Day dinner, Mr Chan also made the point that a key factor behind Singapore's success is that the country has constructive politics and a coherent Government.

"We have always been transparent and honest with our people on our challenges, opportunities," he told grassroots leaders and residents at the Tanjong Pagar Community Club.

He began his 40-minute speech by explaining the factors contributing to the uncertain external environment and outlined the strategies Singapore is taking to stay ahead in such a climate.

Advance estimates had shown that Singapore's economy grew by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year, the lowest in a decade.

He also flagged growing downside risks from the latest round of tariffs by the US on China, the Hong Kong protests, as well as Japan and South Korea expelling each other from their trade whitelists.

The downturn in electronics has also spilled over to sectors such as precision engineering and wholesale trade, said Mr Chan, who also spoke in Malay and Mandarin.

"We have seen these cycles before, and we should not panic. There are still bright sparks within our economy in the infocomm industries, in the professional industries and so forth."

It will take a much longer time for the global economy to settle into a new equilibrium, he said.

Singapore, he added, has to build on its fundamentals such as its stable and pro-business environment, to create the conditions for its longer-term success.

He also cited the country's progressive regulatory environment, its connections to markets in Asia and beyond, its skilled workforce and tripartism.

Mr Chan expressed confidence that Singapore will be able to weather the uncertainties and achieve even more, if Singaporeans can continue to work together and build on the country's core strengths.

"So long as we work together, one united people with a cohesive society and a coherent Government, we will continue to achieve even greater heights for ourselves and our country," he said.