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ITMs not static but adaptable: Iswaran
THE industry transformation maps (ITMs) rolled out by the government are not static plans but need to adjust to changing conditions, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said on Wednesday.
"If there's a need to modify, maybe even change fundamentally some aspects, that's something we have to do. The environment we're operating in is such a fast-changing one. It will not do to have static plans," Mr Iswaran told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the aerospace sector ITM.
"Some of the other ITMs were launched more than a year back and the environment is already shifted like in retail . . . (they) are already revisiting to see what else they need to do and where they need to make changes."
To date, more than 15 ITMs have been launched, with the rest expected to be rolled out by March this year. The 23 ITMs under the S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme aim to cover 80 per cent of the Singapore economy. While the ITMs have found broad support from businesses, there have been concerns that they may not be responsive enough to new trends, and that many smaller companies are not fully aware of how the ITMs can help them transform their operations.
Mr Iswaran said: "I think it's important that SMEs and SME bosses make the effort to understand what is available out there and if they don't understand, find out."
This is where trade associations, industry associations and chambers of commerce have a key role to play in raising awareness of the ITMs.
"They understand the programme, and we're talking about a base of 180,000 SMEs. You really need these trade associations and chambers as opinion multipliers who can take the message to the ground and activate the response from that broad base," he said.
Mr Iswaran added that the programmes, including skills development, are being designed and communicated to reach out in particular to the SME community.
"It's important we don't see this as a government initiative alone because it is really an initiative that needs to be owned by all parties," he said.
Using the Committee on the Future Economy as an example, he said that more than three-quarters of the members were from the private sector and it was "not by accident but (by) design".
"We recognise that the trends are (as) such, that we need industry players on board with us because they have their finger on the pulse in terms of what's happening," Mr Iswaran added.