“Our economy is looking up. The world economy is doing well, and we are benefitting from that. Our unemployment remains low, and wages have gone up. Most significantly, productivity has picked up. So, this year growth is good,” said Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong while addressing the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Award and Convention 2017 held at Big Box in Jurong.
Predicting that the economic growth of Singapore could exceed 3 per cent, PM Lee said, “We initially expected 1.5 per cent growth this year, then we revised it up to 2-3 per cent. Now it looks like we may exceed 3 per cent growth!”
However, the Prime Minister observed that while economic growth is up, the job is not done, and the government will have to press on with plans to restructure the economy.
Stressing that workers should acquire skills and upgrade themselves, PM Lee said, “Our workers must acquire the right skills and capabilities, they must know how to upgrade themselves, and be confident about their future and livelihood. Our companies also must adapt, upgrade, and compete in the global marketplace.”
Speaking about the strategies for Singaporean workers, PM Lee said, “We have three major strategies to take care of our workers: skills upgrading, job matching, and job creation, and the Government has reorganised ourselves, realigned our organisations and our agencies, so that we can focus on each one of them.”
Elaborating on the government’s strategy, he said, “First, for skills upgrading to help Singaporeans upgrade and pick up the skills needed for the new jobs of the future, we have created SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). Secondly, to match our people to quality jobs, we have Workforce Singapore (WSG). Thirdly, to support our companies to grow and compete overseas, and to create jobs, we are merging IE Singapore and SPRING to form Enterprise Singapore (ESG). So we have each policy, one organisation, focus to get our work done. So we upskill our workers, we match them with jobs. We upgrade our companies, they create new jobs.
PM Lee said restructuring the economy will take effort, and will not be a “totally smooth journey”. But Singapore, he said, has done it before and can do it again.
“The Government will support and help workers and companies. As long as we stick together and make the effort, we will get there,” he added.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also touched on various issues facing the country.