Singapore has started to see some progress in its efforts to raise productivity, but the country is still in the early to middle stages of its economic restructuring and so it has to press on with its efforts, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said.
The upcoming Budget, which he will unveil on Feb 21, will therefore include more measures to help companies, especially support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to stay the course, he added.
Mr Tharman was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a family carnival in his Jurong constituency on Sunday.
He said Singapore has to press ahead with the restructuring of the economy and the upgrading of its SMEs especially, so that the country can create better jobs and wages of average and lower-income workers can rise over time.
"That is a multi-year task. It is not something that can be achieved in two or three years," he said.
"We are in the early to middle stages of that task. Wages are rising. The labour market is extremely tight; the pain is being felt by the businesses. But we are only beginning to see the pick-up in productivity."
The fact that productivity has not picked up much despite the tight labour market is understandable, he said, but added that Singapore is now going to see better results.
The Government will do its part by providing support to individual industries, to help companies invest in technology and their supply chains and provide them with assistance so that large firms can help small firms.