Singapore's economic restructuring still work in progress: MAS chief

Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), speaks at the Singapore Fintech Festival in Singapore on Nov 16, 2016.
Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), speaks at the Singapore Fintech Festival in Singapore on Nov 16, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - How well and how quickly Singapore can upskill as a workforce to thrive and succeed in an increasingly digitalised economy will be a key challenge for the Republic going forward, said Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Mr Menon said economic restructuring remains a work-in-progress, and that Singapore has to do more to raise productivity growth.

"Raising the levels of skills and competencies and abilities is going to be absolutely critical," he said, pointing to the need to keep up with rising technologies.

And for Singapore companies, trying to decide how much they can embrace and use technologies to bring down costs is another challenge as well, Mr Menon told the audience gathered at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre for the UBS Wealth Insights Forum on Monday (Jan 16).

He noted it is difficult in an environment with slow growth and tight margins to find the resources "to take a forward view and invest in technologies ... but that's something we have to do".

While the Singapore economy is expected to continue on its modest pace of expansion this year, with gross domestic product growth likely to come in between 1 and 3 per cent, the country "will not be immune to the global tightening of financial conditions, volatility in capital flows and potential stresses in the regional corporate sector", said Mr Menon.

He added: "But our macro fundamentals are sound and we will weather these storms. And as we continue to invest in the future - in skills, in technology, and in infrastructure, we will emerge a stronger and more dynamic economy."