7 'mutually reinforcing' strategies to keep Singapore open, focus on innovation and adaptability

SEVEN "mutually-reinforcing" strategies are the key planks to the Committee on the Future Economy's (CFE) vision that should spur quality economic growth for Singapore's economy over the next decade.

In partnering each other, the CFE expects that these wide-ranging strategies can help keep Singapore open and connected, while ensuring that stakeholders can have the ability to innovate and scale up, and to adapt and transform.

"The purposeful implementation of these mutually-reinforcing strategies will give us a competitive edge against larger and better-resourced countries," said the CFE report, which was made available on Thursday.

Expressing regret at the "nativist politics and protectionist economics" that gained ground in 2016, the 30-member CFE urged that Singapore must still remain connected to the world.

Hence, the CFE suggested that Singapore should develop in-market expertise, especially in Asean and the wider Asian region. It also proposed that a Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) be set up so that local education and research centres can partner overseas ones to spark new ideas and innovation activity.

The CFE also recommended that all stakeholders partner each other so that efforts can be multiplied, thus spurring growth and innovation.

As such, the CFE is urging the government and the public service to also relook into how they regulate industries and help companies. The government can also use lead demand to help develop promising industries, "especially where this coincides with our own strategic national needs".

Singapore's tax regime also came under the CFE's radar. While details were scant, it urged the government to maintain a tax regime that is broad-based, progressive and fair. The regime should also be competitive and pro-growth.

Said the committee chairman Heng Swee Keat, who is also Finance Minister, at a press conference on Thursday: "Whether there are specific changes (to the tax regime) that will be implemented - that will be a separate process that will need to be done."

But having this recommendation "shows a certain stance where we look ahead and make sure that whatever we do is sustainable", he added.

Committee on the Future Economy's seven strategies:

- deepen and diversify Singapore's international connections;

- acquire and utilise deep skills;

- strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up;

- build strong digital capabilities;

- develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity;

- develop and implement Industry Transformation Maps (first outlined in Budget 2016), and;

- partner each other to enable growth and innovation.

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