Singapore should build local ecosystems of SMEs for the long term: MP, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Singapore should build local ecosystems of SMEs for the long term: MP

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Singapore should build up local ecosystems of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the operational know-how to ensure long-term economic resilience, Mr Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) said yesterday.

He pointed out that the coronavirus outbreak has underlined the need for self-sufficiency, noting how the Government Technology Agency of Singapore's provision of timely updates amid the outbreak is testament to the importance of in-house ability in times of crisis.

He urged the Government to identify areas of critical need or essential services and to build up a core of local talent, adding that while it is cheaper to outsource in the short term, the value of in-sourcing would be considerable in difficult situations.

Mr Ong was among the MPs who spoke in Parliament about the importance of developing the resilience of Singapore companies and the country's global attractiveness for the long term.

He cited the Mittelstand, Germany's world-class, export-oriented SMEs that bolster social welfare and try to retain staff through tough times, and said Singapore could explore and build a core of locally anchored businesses that can help its economy in both good and bad times.

Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera called for "strategic results-based spending to develop local entrepreneurs in ways that benefit domestic employment", highlighting that investing in local enterprises was how Japan and South Korea built up their world-beating firms.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) said there should be no let-up in efforts to grow local enterprises into efficient, competitive businesses that can make Singapore proud, adding: "I long for the day when Singapore can boast of our own large corporations like Alibaba, Samsung, Apple and Google."

Meanwhile, Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) raised the issue of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) possibly losing its lustre, as local companies opt to list on exchanges in New York, London and Hong Kong in recent years.

He said the SGX could find out why some of them have done so, as the exchange loses listings of growth-oriented companies.