Report on the future of Singapore's economy will focus on doing more with less: Ong Ye Kung

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung making his opening remarks and answering questions during the Q&A at the International Roundtable on The Future of the Economy at the Regeant Hotel, Jan 24, 2016.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung making his opening remarks and answering questions during the Q&A at the International Roundtable on The Future of the Economy at the Regeant Hotel, Jan 24, 2016.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - Singapore's economic growth cannot be achieved through manpower growth, but should be pursued based on productivity and innovation, Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (Jan 24) as he gave a preview of an upcoming governmental report about how the country's economy will enter its next phase.

Speaking at an international roundtable organised by the Singapore University of Technology and Design's Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Mr Ong said that Singapore's manpower growth was bound by its small size, challenging demographic trends as well as the need to preserve a sense of identity.

The report by the Committee on the Future Economy will thus focus on figuring out how Singapore can maximise the use of its limited resources.

"We are on an irreversible journey to pursue growth based on productivity and innovation," he said.

Mr Ong, who is also the Second Minister of Defence, said the report will go deeper into the "algorithms and mechanisms of (resource) allocation, achieving quantum leaps in optimisation".

"In other words, we are answering the question: how do we do more with less?" he said.

This can be done by anticipating areas of future growth, deepening the skills base of employees here, encouraging people and businesses to enter regional and global markets, and nurturing an enterprising spirit.

Mr Ong said that while the Government can foster an environment that facilitates enterprise, society needs to "play an even bigger role in the way it views failures, celebrates successes, and decides who it shall honour".

"Today, our culture is to honour scholars who have good academic grades, who can rise in organisations and bureaucracies," said Mr Ong.

"We need to put on the same pedestal the entrepreneurs, who have tried, who have failed, but have succeeded. We need to honour them."