Future Economy Council sets out 3 key areas of focus [TODAY Online]

The FEC discussed how to enable Singaporeans to pick up and use deep skills, and how to support local companies to build strong capabilities to compete.

Following its inaugural meeting on Monday (Aug 7), the Future Economy Council (FEC) has set out three key areas of work that it would embark on to support the growth and transformation of Singapore’s economy.

The areas include growing a vibrant and open economy that is connected to the world, and “where Trade Association and Chambers (TACs), unions, enterprises and individuals come together to harness opportunities”, the FEC said in a press release. It will also strengthen local enterprises through industry-specific transformation initiatives and help Singaporeans acquire and utilise deep skills.

The FEC is chaired by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. At the May Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity (CSIP) would be renamed the

FEC, with an expanded mandate to include the implementation of the Committee on Future Economy’s recommendations. The CSIP was established last year to build on the efforts of the SkillsFuture Council and the National Productivity Council. The FEC will also continue the development and implementation of the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) and SkillsFuture initiatives.

Mr Heng said that during its maiden meeting, the FEC discussed how to enable Singaporeans to pick up and use deep skills, and how to support local companies to build strong capabilities to compete. He added that the FEC will promote closer cooperation between different industries, as well as between Singapore and the regional and international markets.

“This is an effort that requires everyone — the unions, TACs, businesses, training institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning — to work together closely. We have a good start, and I’m optimistic that, working together, we can make progress to build a strong workforce and economy, and create good opportunities for our people and companies,” Mr Heng said.

The FEC will also look into broader set of issues, such as strengthening the country’s innovation ecosystem, as well as deepening and diversifying Singapore’s international connections, among others.

The FEC comprises 31 members from the government, industry, unions, and educational and training institutions. The members represent different sectors and bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam is the adviser to the FEC.

The FEC’s work is supported by six subcommittees representing manufacturing, built environment, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, modern services and lifestyle sectors. Each subcommittee is co-chaired by a public office-holder and a private-sector member, and oversees transformation efforts within the same broad cluster of industries.

Noting the uncertainty and challenges faced by workers as Singapore’s economy transforms, National Trades Union Congress president Mary Liew said the labour movement supports the FEC in continuing tripartite efforts to “reskill and help our workers seize opportunities in the new economy”.

“We must ensure that our working people are not left behind,” she said.

Source: TODAY Online