Singapore should continue to work on its long-term goals like sustainability and digital transformation even as it deals with near-term priorities brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, said Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
These efforts will also create new jobs and opportunities over the next decade, he told a virtual conference on national and job security yesterday.
He noted that the pandemic has created short-term issues to focus on, such as to ensure a safe re-opening where community transmission rates are kept low.
Another priority is to help Singaporeans stay employed during the crisis, which was the reason behind the creation of the National Jobs Council, which has the goal of helping around 100,000 job seekers over the next year.
But he added: "Beyond the immediate term, we must prepare ourselves for the next phase of opportunity. In that regard, it is not all doom and gloom.
"Singapore has unique strengths that set us apart. We are also building on our future economy which was already well under way before Covid-19."
One aspect of the Government's longer-term plan is to grow the sustainable sector, which will also create more jobs in the future.
"We are taking on de-carbonisation efforts to transition Singapore's energy-intensive sectors to a low-carbon future. We are also building capabilities in climate science and putting in place island-wide coastal protection measures.
"Such efforts to strengthen our response to climate change will create specialised jobs in areas such as carbon and sustainability services, climate sciences and coastal protection."
The pandemic has also highlighted the need for Singapore to be resilient in supply chains and resource lines by diversifying sources and being more self-sufficient in local food production, he noted.
Mr Masagos added: "In bolstering Singapore's food supply resilience, we are also poised to create good jobs in the high-tech agriculture and aquaculture industry."
The crisis also spurred digital transformation, with hawkers learning to provide online food orders and delivery and to accept e-payments.
He said: "In the years ahead, there will be significant opportunities in the environment space.
"We anticipate that through our efforts to enhance Singapore's climate, resource and economic resilience, over 55,000 individuals will benefit from new and upgraded jobs over the next 10 years."