29 October 2020

On 5 October 2020, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered his ministerial statement on an overview of the Government’s strategy to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministerial statement outlines how the Government will approach the next six months as the Singapore economy reopens, as well as the plans for Singapore’s longer-term economic recovery, to emerge stronger.

The following are some highlights of the ministerial statement:

  • Extend or enhance capability-building grants: Certain grants, such as the Market Readiness Assistance Grant and Productivity Solutions Grant, will be extended or enhanced to give a boost to businesses seeking to internationalise, transform and digitalise.
  • Extend Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (“TBLP”): The TBLP will be extended for six months until September 2021, at reduced levels. 
  • Remaking Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation, and enterprise:
    • Air hub and air connectivity: The Government is committed to reviving Singapore’s air hub and restore air connectivity. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce is studying this as part of broader re-opening plans.
    • Maritime trade: The Government will press on with improving transhipment capabilities, inking trade facilitation agreements, and anchoring key shipping routes through Singapore.
    • Trade and logistics ecosystem: The entire trade and logistics ecosystem will be strengthened, deepening capabilities in the port, airport, and beyond. The infrastructure will be enhanced to handle larger flows of food, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and e-commerce.
    • Digital connectivity: The build-up of digital capabilities will be accelerated as digitalisation is a strategic capability to unlock growth, evolve models to harness digital possibilities, and integrate processes such as logistics, payment and marketing.
  • New five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise (“RIE”) plan: A new RIE plan will be unveiled in December 2020. The plan will build on earlier investments and enhance research to support areas of national priority, such as early childhood development and lifelong learning. The Government also plans to expand the transformation of the manufacturing, aviation and maritime sectors, and deepen capabilities as a Smart Nation and sustainable society.
  • Establish Singapore as a carbon services hub in Asia: Efforts to limit the growth of carbon emissions will increase the demand for engineering, legal, and consultancy services related to carbon. The Alliance for Action for Sustainability is market-testing some concepts and business opportunities.
  • Green finance: Finance is an important enabler of green growth. Financing solutions and markets in Singapore are being developed to help firms finance their adoption of more sustainable practices under the MAS Green Finance Action Plan.