SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will take over the reins of a national council overseeing skills and innovation efforts from Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the move in his May Day Rally on Monday (May 1), where he also announced that the Council of Skills, Innovation and Productivity (CSIP) will have a new name - the Future Economy Council.
The tripartite CSIP was set up last year (2016) to lead efforts aimed at developing skills for the future, and boosting productivity and innovation.
Since then, the Committee for the Future Economy chaired by Mr Heng and Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran has consulted widely and released its report.
The report outlined strategies for Singapore, its companies and people to acquire skills, innovate and transform in a more challenging economic landscape.
Mr Lee said the committee's recommendations, including industry transformation maps that spell out how businesses and workers in 23 key sectors can stay viable and thrive, need to be implemented to take Singapore's economy forward.
The Future Economy Council will help put these proposals into practice.
Mr Heng will work with Mr Iswaran, NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, and other ministers and ministers of state - especially the younger ones - said Mr Lee.
"I am putting them in charge of this strategic effort. It is a deep transformation. It will take time. It will extend beyond this term of government," he said.
"It is an opportunity for them to work closely together as a team, strengthen their bonds with employers and unions, and with each other, and show Singaporeans what they can do.
"It is their generation of leadership who will have to work with Singaporeans to take the country to new heights," he added.
Watch PM's speech on his Facebook page.