10 February 2017

Singapore Committee on Future Economy outlines recommendations for a future-ready Singapore

Source: CFE infographic. What individuals and enterprises can do to prepare for the future.
Source: CFE infographic. What individuals and enterprises can do to prepare for the future.

 Build an open and connected economy with deep capabilities
 Opportunities with sustainable wage growth for all Singaporeans

According to the Committee on Future Economy (CFE), Singapore is well-positioned to tap into growth sectors fuelled by the rise of the middle-class and urbanisation in Asia, particularly in finance, hub services, logistics, as well as urban solutions. New technologies can also contribute to productivity gains in industry sectors such as advanced manufacturing, the committee has said.

Over the past year, the committee, five subcommittees and working groups held in-depth discussions, deep dives, meetings and focus groups involving more than 2,000 people. It consulted over 9,000 stakeholders, including trade associations and chambers (TACs), public agencies, unions, companies, executives, workers, academics, educators, and students before coming up with its report, which has been submitted to the Prime Minister of Singapore.

The recommendations take into account the significant structural shifts in the external environment that have occurred over in the last few years. Global growth has been subdued and is expected to be lower than in the previous decade. Global productivity growth has been sluggish, though technology can still  generate new waves of innovation and breakthroughs.

Growth in the US has recovered since the global financial crisis, but not to pre-crisis levels. Europe continues to face structural problems, including high youth unemployment. Asia remains a bright spot, with some economies growing rapidly.

The CFE’s work builds on the 2010 Report of the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC), but has had to adjust for the new world reality. The CFE re-examined Singapore’s operating assumptions and model and identified seven mutually-reinforcing strategies that will maximise the chances of Singapore’s success:

(i) Deepen and diversify international connections
(ii) Acquire and utilise deep skills
(iii) Strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up
(iv) Build strong digital capabilities
(v) Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity
(vi) Develop and implement industry transformation maps (ITMs)
(vii) Partner each other to enable innovation and growth

The Co-Chair of the CFE and Singapore Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat said: “The CFE recommends that, in the face of unprecedented global challenges and greater uncertainty, our response must be to keep Singapore relevant to the world."

Co-Chair of CFE and Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran added: “The CFE recommendations aim to help our people and our enterprises develop deep capabilities that will enable Singapore to reshape our economy and seize new opportunities at home and globally. Ultimately, our efforts must translate into better opportunities for all Singaporeans, with sustainable wage growth and meaningful careers, and a conducive environment for firms to start, grow and soar.”

Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman, PwC Singapore commented positively on the strategy. "The report focuses on how Singapore can leverage rapid technological advancement to evolve its established strengths like infrastructure and urban planning, global financial hubbing capability and logistical efficiency to advance growth and development for the future of Singapore. It also has a strong focus on developing talent and networks which are necessary to make it happen. Overall it is a very comprehensive plan to move our nation forward. What is required now is for local companies and individuals to rise to the challenge - to create value through innovation, continuous learning and adaptation," he said.

"The CFE report is an exciting vision, full of good ideas and theory. Execution is now key, and we need a mindset change across Singapore - to fight for free trade, to embrace technology, to be differentiated via new skills, to go beyond Singapore, to partner as government and the private sector, to use our city as an asset. For the plan to succeed, we need all of Singapore to embrace this new way of thinking, living and working," added Richard Skinner, Strategy Leader, PwC Singapore.

The committee was established in January 2016 to address the new challenges that Singapore faces.
The 30-member committee comprises members from different industries that operate in both global and domestic markets, as well as enterprises both large and small. The government will provide its response in the 2017 Budget Speech and Committee of Supply (COS) Debates. In 2016, the COS Debates were in early April while the Budget Speech was delivered in late March.


View the CFE report

Explore the complete infographic