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Singapore remains competitive despite Covid-19: MOF

SINGAPORE continues to be one of the most competitive and pro-business economies globally, with businesses remaining confident in the Republic even amid the Covid-19 crisis, according to the Ministry of Finance's Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review (SPOR) released on Thursday.

This is reflected in the Economic Development Board's effort to secure S$13 billion of fixed asset investment commitments in the first four months of 2020, amid the Covid-19 crisis, which indicates businesses' confidence in Singapore.

At the same time, while the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of life, it has also fostered a strong sense of community among Singaporeans.

"The special section of this year's report titled 'Emerging Stronger as One' recognises the partnership between government and people in our collective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. It highlights Singaporeans' strong spirit of care and concern for one another as well as how working together has enabled us to serve those in need and overcome this crisis as one," Leo Yip, head of civil service, said of SPOR.

Between January and May this year, a total of S$90 million was donated to the Community Chest and other charities, which was almost equal to the overall donations received by the Community Chest and for the whole of 2019.

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More than 28,000 grassroots, public service and citizen volunteers stepped forward to assist in the nationwide mask collection exercises, while over 1,500 grassroots leaders and volunteers have taken on roles as safe distancing ambassadors, MOF said.

Individuals have also taken personal responsibility to abide by the national public health measures, MOF said. For example, TraceTogether now covers more than 50 per cent of the population, with more than 2.9 million app and token users as at November 2020.

Meanwhile, businesses have been looking beyond immediate challenges, looking to seize long-term opportunities in Asia. For example, direct investment abroad by Singapore-based companies into South-east Asia increased by 37 per cent over five years.

SPOR, in its sixth edition this year, takes stock of how Singapore has fared in key areas of national interest, MOF said, with data covering up to 2019 in most cases.

From 2014 to 2019, Singapore's real gross domestic product grew by 2.9 per cent per year and labour productivity rose by 2.5 per cent per year.

Income for full-time employed residents rose by 3.8 per cent per year over the five years.

Life expectancy, at 81.4 and 85.7 years for males and females respectively in 2019, is among the highest in the world.

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