SINGAPORE: The “confidence, resourcefulness, reliability and drive” qualities of the Rooster are precisely what Singapore needs to navigate what is shaping up to be a challenging year, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran, said on Saturday (Jan 28).
In a speech at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (SCCCI) Chinese New Year gathering, Mr Iswaran said the economy is likely to remain slow with continuing economic headwinds and an unpredictable global political climate.
"We have witnessed unexpected economic and political developments, and the long term repercussions and consequences are just beginning to unfold," he said, adding that nations all around the world are facing the same uncertainties and challenges.
Against this backdrop, however, the minister said 2016 ended with some positive news.
Strong performance in the fourth quarter, especially from the manufacturing sector which saw a strong reversal from its contraction in the third quarter, buoyed Singapore's economic growth in 2016.
Advance estimates place it at 1.8 per cent, above the initial projection.
As Singapore deals with short-term challenges, he stressed that seeking new opportunities is crucial to position the country for the future.
"Our people must be adaptable with deep skills; our enterprises, innovative and nimble; and our economy, open and connected," he said, adding that businesses need to press on with longer-term economic restructuring to become more innovative and to internationalise.
Moving ahead, Mr Iswaran said the Government will continue to provide strong, targeted support to small and medium enterprises to help build their capabilities for internationalisation and innovation.
The Committee on the Future Economy's report will be issued soon.
"In every crisis, we have sought out new opportunities, built on our strengths, acquired new capabilities, and ventured into new markets and sectors. And we have always taken care to ensure that our immediate needs do not blind us from fundamental long term challenges; otherwise we might win the battle but lose the war," he said.