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Helping workers and businesses adapt, innovate and grow a key priority for Budget 2021: Heng Swee Keat

Helping workers and businesses adapt, innovate and grow a key priority for Budget 2021: Heng Swee Keat

Mr Heng Swee Keat (left) being briefed by Mr Kevin Tan, an engineer with Durapower, on the fabrication process of lithium batteries at the Durapower R&D labs. (Photo: MCI)

SINGAPORE: Helping workers and businesses to adapt, innovate and grow will continue to be a key priority for this year's Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday (Feb 5).

While the Government has done its best to preserve jobs, support viable companies and help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the road to recovery remains "uneven and highly uncertain", Mr Heng said.

"We will continue to support our workers and companies, especially those in hard-hit sectors. But we must also continue to press on with economic transformation, which we started five years ago," he added.

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, will deliver Singapore's Budget 2021 statement on Feb 16 in Parliament.

READ: Commentary - Singapore economy set for V-shaped recovery this year but jobs market may take longer to rebound

Even as Singapore deals with the present, the country must prepare workers for a different world post-coronavirus, he said.

"COVID-19 has accelerated innovation, put a premium on resilience, and greater priority on sustainability. There is no turning back the clock," said Mr Heng.

He noted that the Government introduced many initiatives to help workers and businesses in the last year.

These included helping small and medium enterprises and hawkers adopt digital solutions, as well as giving support to promising start-ups and entrepreneurs.

He also highlighted the creation of more than 100,000 opportunities through the SG United Jobs and Skills Programme, and the S$25 billion committed to research, innovation and enterprise over the next five years.

READ: Graduating into a COVID-19 jobs market - short-term challenges and longer-term issues?

Mr Heng was speaking during a visit to the R&D laboratories of Durapower, a company that provides renewable energy storage solutions.

It is an example of a company that has been innovating and growing, and is poised to benefit from global green growth, said Mr Heng. This will in turn create more good jobs for workers, he added. 

"Many other companies are also adapting and innovating to seek new opportunities during this crisis. It is not easy but we must persist," said Mr Heng.

"I am fully committed to support these companies, through their journey of innovation and transformation. Together, we can emerge stronger as an economy; together, we can create better jobs for our workers."

Source: CNA/dv(gs)


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