SMEs must plug into digital economy to spur Singapore's economy: S. Iswaran

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran encouraged SMEs to plug into the digital economy as it would contribute towards Singapore's growth. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - It is "critical" for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to plug into the digital economy, as it would make a noticeable impact on Singapore's growth, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said on Sunday (Feb 17).

Speaking about the Government's ongoing efforts to support businesses in the digital space, Mr Iswaran, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, said: "This is not just the larger enterprises but also for the smaller and medium-sized enterprises. That's critical because they really move the needle for us in terms of the economy, if they plug into the digital economy."

Other government figures have previously urged businesses to take advantage of digital technology to raise productivity levels.

SMEs are a key driver of Singapore's economy. According to the Department of Statistics, SMEs contribute to 65 per cent of Singapore's employment, while in 2017, SMEs added a nominal value of $196.8 billion, or 49 per cent, to the economy.

SMEs are defined by the Department of Statistics as enterprises with operating receipts of not more than $100 million or employment of not more than 200 workers.

Mr Iswaran said that the Government's digital readiness programme is targeted at individuals as well as businesses.

It is important to ensure that the society is well plugged in, so that citizens can access "the benefits of e-government" and other digital services, he said.

He was speaking to reporters on Sunday morning on the sidelines of a Chinese New Year community event in West Coast GRC, where he is an MP.

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran handing out mandarin oranges at West Coast Market Square on Feb 17, 2019. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

He was attending the relaunch of the West Coast Cares programme, which started in 2015, at West Coast Market Square in Clementi. Through this platform, more than 150 local businesses are subsidising daily necessities for needy households.

Mr Iswaran also presented the PA (People's Association) Community Spirit Awards to participating organisations - West Coast 726 Hawkers' Association, Clementi Town Shop-Owners' Association, and West Coast Drive Merchants' Association - in recognition of their contributions. He later distributed oranges to residents, diners and hawkers at the Square's food centre.

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