Ministry of Finance will work to continue fostering a vibrant economy: Heng Swee Keat

Minister Heng Swee Keat will initiate a stock take as his first major task as newly appointed Finance Minister.
Minister Heng Swee Keat will initiate a stock take as his first major task as newly appointed Finance Minister.PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Amid a global economic slowdown, the Ministry of Finance will work to continue fostering a vibrant economy, newly appointed Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Oct 2.

This is important as it creates good job opportunities and new businesses. "With a growing economy, we can then generate the resources to invest in our future, invest in education and take care of those in need."

Mr Heng's remarks came on the back of a visit to the start-up community at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north as well as packaging firm Fagerdala on Friday morning - his first company visits since he was sworn in as Finance Minister on Oct 1.

In its push to create opportunities, Singapore comes up against a rapidly changing global economic and financial environment, Mr Heng noted.

While Singapore is restructuring its economy and some important policies have been put in place since the last Economic Strategies Committee report in 2010, an immediate assessment of the overall situation is needed.

"We need to do an assessment now to see what are the key changes in the global, regional and domestic economies. What are the challenges ahead, where are we today and what are the key things we need to do going forward?"

"So we will do a stock take as our first major task."

Other than working closely with economic agencies, companies and the union to create a dynamic economy, Mr Heng will be assembling a committee to look at the future economy.

This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the new Cabinet's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. The economy was in urgent need of a review, Mr Lee had said, similarly citing challenges from global economic conditions and domestic demographic trends.

Mr Heng said yesterday that more details on the committee, including its make-up and timeline, will come later, after an assessment of key areas the Government needs to focus on. "The last Economic Strategies Committee took about a year (to formulate its report). It's not something we will rush through."