To help its members use online platforms more effectively and discover new opportunities, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) will partner global trading network Proxtera to transform trade documentation services.
This is one way business organisations such as the chamber can help Singapore maintain its global prominence, said Dr T. Chandroo, SICCI chairman, yesterday.
Proxtera will work to help trade association members leverage digitalisation by enabling quick onboarding and enhanced connectivity. It will work with SICCI to raise funds and expand into South Asian and African markets.
Both organisations also signed a memorandum of understanding, after a dialogue session at which Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah and Dr Chandroo spoke.
Dr Chandroo noted that about 70 per cent of SICCI's members are in trading.
"Working together (with Proxtera), I know that we will enhance both our organisations and develop substantial ties in the long run. This is even more important now as the world is ravaged by Covid-19 and businesses must rethink their avenues of cooperation and growth."
During the dialogue, Ms Indranee spoke on topics such as the digitalisation of economies and its impact on work arrangements.
She said that the circuit breaker period last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that working remotely is possible, and also highlighted the difference between working from home and having flexible working arrangements.
"Work from home suggests that everything is done at home. With flexible work arrangements, the assumption is that the default would be to work in the office, but as and when there is a need, we can allow the employee to work from home, meaning he or she does not have to take leave. It is not held against them (or against) their pay."
Ms Indranee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, urged small-and medium-sized enterprises to "take note of the difference", citing her work at the National Population and Talent Division, which she oversees.
Drawing the link to the total fertility rate in Singapore, she said young families often bring up issues of stress and the inability to manage and balance responsibilities at home and at work.
They also often call for more childcare leave.
But flexible work arrangements will reduce the pressure for more legislated childcare leave, which can have other impacts, Ms Indranee said.