End goal is to create good jobs, says Liang Eng Hwa at pre-Budget roundtable (The Straits Times)

(Photo: Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, The Straits Times)

SINGAPORE – In developed economies of today, economic growth and activities are just a means to an end, which is to create good jobs, said Liang Eng Hwa, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance, Trade & Industry, on Tuesday (Jan 9).

In Singapore’s context, this means adopting a pro-business approach in order for these opportunities to take shape, he added.

Mr Liang was giving his keynote address at this year’s Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) Pre-Budget Roundtable, where business and industry leaders gathered ahead of the Singapore Budget 2018 to discuss key issues based on the theme “Partnering for Business Growth and Job Creation”.

The five guiding topics for the forum were industry transformation maps (ITMs), digital economies, internationalisation, innovation, and jobs & skills.

Mr Liang said that rapid technological advancement will change the type, nature and location of future industries and jobs.

“Every economy is wrestling with the changing nature of jobs, and Singapore is no different,” he said.

To prepare the workforce for future disruptions, he pointed out how SkillsFuture is helping to equip adult learners with industry-relevant skills and prepare them to take on jobs.

He highlighted eight emerging areas identified: data analytics, finance, tech-related services, digital media, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, advance manufacturing, and urban solutions.

He noted that to date, some 15 ITMs, which are tailored for the specific needs of each industry and coordinated by an economic agency, have been launched. The remaining eight will be launched progressively by March this year, making it a total of 23 ITMs which will cover 80 per cent of the economy, said Mr Liang.

But far from being a static plan, stakeholders will continue to refine initiatives progressively and even “course correct” as needed based on feedback or when external demand trends shift.

Businesses also need to continue to build digital capabilities to go to the next level and lift productivity, he said.

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Vivien Shiao

9 January 2017

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