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Singapore economy to grow by 'around 2.5 per cent' in 2017: PM Lee

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The government expects Singapore's economy to grow by around 2.5 per cent in 2017, which would be higher than last year's growth of 2 per cent.

THE government expects Singapore's economy to grow by around 2.5 per cent in 2017, which would be higher than last year's growth of 2 per cent.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the latest forecast in his annual National Day Message on Tuesday evening.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has maintained its GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast for 2017 at 1 to 3 per cent. Based on advance estimates, the economy grew by 2.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the second quarter of 2017, the same pace of growth as in the previous quarter.

"We are working with businesses and workers to transform industries one by one, and to prepare for the future economy," said Mr Lee.

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Mr Lee added that international trade, which is a key engine of Singapore's growth, is at risk from protectionism.

"We are busy upgrading our economy. Our students and workers are mastering new skills and staying up-to-date with technology," he said.

Mr Lee also gave a sneak preview of his National Day Rally speech that he will deliver on Aug 20.

He listed three issues that he would speak at length on - improving the pre-school sector, dealing with the problem of diabetes, and the need to become a Smart Nation.

On the Smart Nation issue, Mr Lee said Singapore wants to make full use of information technology (IT) to create opportunities and jobs, and make the country an "outstanding place" to live, work and play.

He noted how other countries are using electronic payments to go cashless, building sensor networks to enhance public security, and analysing big data to improve public services.

"We must learn from them, catch up, and get ahead. By using IT for practical applications, big and small, we can improve our lives, and make this a fun and happening place," he said.

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