Not all is well with the Singaporean economy, much like the rest of the developed world. If you are only focusing on the economic growth over the last year then the scenario may look promising. From the modest 2.4% growth of gross domestic product in 2016, the economy grew at 3.5% by the end of 2017. This defied the expectations. Most experts had pegged the yearly growth to remain at around 2%, marking a steed and steady decline from the astronomical high of over 15% in 2010. The boom phase is well past us and although we may not be staring at a bust cycle, still there are teething concerns. At a time when the economy is already stagnating and may stagnate further, the government has been rolling out several initiatives to provide the impetus needed for a robust expansion, both nationally and internationally. Singapore has initiated a plan to help a multifaceted workforce develop the skills that are integral to overseas expansion.
Singapore has quite a few crises at hand and a few are in the making. Manufacturing is in a reasonable state of growth but there are some hiccups that primarily emerge from the stagnancy in domestic consumption. Overseas expansion is thus necessary. Electronics and engineering are driving manufacturing and they would continue to do so in the short term. Services are also contributing to the growth of the economy but not as much as the government or the corporations would like. The growth of services from 1.4% to 2.8% in the last two years pales in comparison with the growth of manufacturing. This is despite the numerous attempts at making Singapore emerge as the South East Asian hub of financial technology or fintech. Finance and insurance, wholesale and retail have recorded growth but not enough to propel the economy beyond its stagnancy.
Construction is suffering, the real estate industry is staring at a potential crisis, there is a substantially high unemployment rate and immigration of skilled labors has taken a hit with the government tightening its grip on visa policies. While the Ministry of Trade and Industry expects an increase in foreign direct and indirect investment, there is not much right now to be upbeat about. In fact, various ministers and industry bodies have actually cautioned against being too optimistic with the 2017 growth figures.
According to the latest initiative, the government of Singapore will team up with various partners across industries to help the workforce develop technical skills that will fuel overseas expansion and will make such growth sustainable. The ASEAN Leadership Programme will focus on business leaders and help them develop networks to plan expansion across Southeast Asia and then beyond. Singapore Business Federation and Singapore Management University have agreed to be an integral part of this initiative and the program will also include small to medium business owners as well as entrepreneurs. The present SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative is already training two hundred Singaporeans. It has pledged to work with almost two hundred more once the first phase is completed.
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