On the 19th of February, Singapore’s Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat, held his speech about the country’s budget for this year. In spite of the fact that the country started recording great progress since the last half of 2017, the Minister spoke about the most significant shifts that will take place in the coming 10 years and how Singapore must be ready to face these changes appropriately, with the help of a well-made budget. Thus, the most important changes Singapore needs to be careful about are the economic emphasis that will be placed on Asia even more than before, the population that will continue to age, and the appearance of breakthroughs in the sector of technology. This is why Singapore’s budget must be part of a plan that will allow the country to be properly prepared for these shifts.
Taken separately, each of these shifts will produce a new wave of changes in the country in its own specific manner. Thus, the economic emphasis on Asia makes reference to the fact that this continent will play a role that will be increasingly significant when it comes to global trade processes and the flow of investments. This is triggered, in some degree, by the pressure accumulating inside some countries, such as Britain that is going through the Brexit process, or the United States, which made important changes concerning the taxes for importing goods from Asia. Besides this, numerous opportunities will be created for the companies activating in Singapore, due to the fact that the population in the middle-class range is on the rise in many countries in Asia and because China started the creation of an infrastructure bank in the region as a result of its courageous plans for the future. But, not all news is great in this sector, as there are also threats for Singapore to take into consideration, such as the threat posed by terrorism, rising tensions in the south sea of Chine and the Korean peninsula.
The emergence of new technology, such as robotics, will not just make our lives easier, but will also shape the job market, influencing this way the local economy. There are high chances that companies in Singapore will stop competing against each other based on their physical attributes and capabilities, as there will be robots and machines doing all the hard work. So, they will start focusing on something else, such as intellectual properties, user networks, and databases.
It is also hard to ignore the fact that Singapore’s population is growing older year after year. This means that an increasing part of the country’s budget will go on healthcare services and other expenses in the social sphere. These expenses will start putting more pressure not just on the Government, but also on all the families that live in the country. Why is this happening? Well, first of all, the workforce in Singapore will become smaller, making the labor market shrink as well and impair, in a certain degree, the country’s economic development. A solution to this would be to change the mentality of people and their working style so that they become more effective at their workplace and more productive. Also, foreign workers are welcome at the same time, as they can fill the gaps and supplement the decreasing workforce of the country.
Besides these, there are other factors that can influence the evolution of the country as well. Inequalities in the income sector and the mobility of social classes are among these factors. As the Finance Minister mentioned, investments in education and improvement of skills will continue to be made in Singapore due to these reasons. At the same time, volunteering, sports, arts, and other activities that can bring people together and create common interests will be promoted in a more intensive manner.
Of course, we don’t have to see the three major shifts, which were previously mentioned, as bad things. As they will interact, they will produce positive changes for the population, such as new and better technologies that will help workers become more productive. But, at the same time, they will come along with some challenges too, as the expansion of technology also means the danger of cyber-attacks, as an example. These challenges must be seen up ahead so that the country can get ready to meet them, while also ceasing the opportunities that will appear in the near future. After all, everything in this world has both advantages and disadvantages, so it matters how you react and how well prepared you are to meet whatever comes your way.
How will Singapore stand up in front of challenges and take advantages of the opportunities?
According to Mr. Heng, there are 4 main steps that will be taken in this direction. The first step will be the development of an economy that is both innovative and vibrant so that it can face the coming changes. Then the city will be developed and built into a green and smart city, where people will love to live. The third step will be the creation of a society that is cohesive and caring, which explains why group activities, like sports and volunteering, are appreciated and promoted so much. And, finally, plans will be developed so that the financial future of the country will be secure and sustainable. For all of these steps, the government will implement measure and will offer its support in every way possible, so that when the shifts do happen, Singapore will be a strong and well-developed country.
Having all these in mind, we are more than eager to see what will happen in Singapore. If these plans go in the desired directions and all the adopted measures will have the hoped effect, then the country will definitely become one of the most appreciated in Asia. Singapore is already heading in the right way, so all this planning will strengthen it, even more, keeping it from straying from the desired path. Thus, there are high chances for the next decade to find a better, more beautiful, and stable Singapore.
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