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Everyone has a stake, a role to play in the future economy: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat

THE point appears simple but according to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who has thought hard about it, it gets to the very heart of the future economy.

And the point is that everyone has a stake in the future of the economy, everyone has a critical role to play and everyone has to act as one, he said on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day conference on Singapore's future economy.

At the industry level, Mr Heng said, trade associations and chambers of commerce must get companies to share industry-wide capabilities and solutions that benefit everyone in the industry.

He noted that the logistics sector is already doing its share, with home-grown logistics company YCH taking the lead in training more workers than it needs - the excess will go to other logistics companies.

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"We need more of such industry-level collaboration, and going digital is a valuable focus area," Mr Heng said at the conference hosted by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

The logistics industry was also the first to launch the Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) on Wednesday. "The Logistics IDP will bring industry leaders together to collaborate on projects to help more companies adopt impactful, interoperable tech solutions," Mr Heng said.

The minister had unveiled the IDPs in this year's Budget under the SME Go Digital Programme to help SMEs build their digital capabilities. The ITPs are tailored to each industry and aligned to the goals of its Industry Transformation Maps. They help guide SMEs' deployment of digital technologies at different stages of growth.

More IDPs will be launched in the coming days. "Such multi-stakeholder collaborations can benefit many companies and uplift the entire sector," Mr Heng said. "We need more industry bodies and leaders to participate and contribute to meaningful collaborations in each of, and across, our industry sectors."

At the national level, the minister sees the SBF bringing together trade associations, chambers of commerce and companies to support the growth of industries and the economy.

He noted that the first Issues Committee which SBF formed is focused on digitalisation. The committee will work with partners to help businesses build digital capabilities and adopt digital technologies.

The SBF on Wednesday also inked a Memorandum of Intent with Infocomm Media Development Authority to cooperate on strategic projects to drive digital transformation across the business community.

As for the government, Mr Heng said that it would continue to play its part by "maintaining macroeconomic stability, strengthening microeconomic foundations and building deep capabilities" to tackle structural changes in the economy.