Learning new skills, innovation needed to create good jobs: Heng Swee Keat

SINGAPORE - Business leaders are recognising the need to build new capabilities for companies and develop new sets of skills in people in order to create good jobs, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said.

"Individuals need to learn new skills, companies need to innovate, and the industry can work together to explore new markets, share common platforms, and help one another lower costs," Mr Heng wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Trade associations and chambers of commerce, such as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI), have an important role to playby helping foster partnerships and collaborations among local businesses, he said.

The upcoming Trade Association Hub by SCCCI, which will be ready in 2017, is a good initiative, he said.

His comments come following a discussion organised by SCCCI. The meeting was part of preparatory work for the launch of the committee on 'The Future Economy' which Mr Heng chairs. The committee was set up to look at how Singapore can help workers and businesses adapt amid weaker global economy and leaner workforce.

He also welcomed contributions on how best to build the capabilities within SMEs, so that they may "seize current and new opportunities".

During the meeting, Mr Heng said he met many business leaders from diverse industries, from engineering to timber, from retail to food and beverage.

wongsy@sph.com.sg