SINGAPORE: After working as a tour guide for 10 years, Ms Jessie Seah’s professional life took a drastic turn when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Singapore’s shores last year. Unable to serve tourists anymore due to global travel restrictions that have halted most forms of tourism, Ms Seah, 48, has been working as a safe distancing ambassador in the past year. "At first, of course it hit me. I thought, ‘Wow I am not going to be in tourism for the next few years?’ It saddens me emotionally, mentally," she said. Apart from the psychological impact, Ms Seah’s income has also been reduced by 30 per cent. Fortunately, the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods has been less devastating on some other Singaporeans, such as Mr Johnston Seah (no relation to Ms Seah). As far as Mr Seah is concerned, his job security is not under threat, and apart from the nationwide rules to curb the spread of the pandemic, it has been more or less business as usual for him. Mr Seah, 32, works in the finance … [Read more...] about The Big Read: Pummelled by COVID-19, Singapore’s economy to begin K-shaped recovery with Budget 2021
SINGAPORE: As a tiny city-state with a population density that ranks third in the world, Singapore isn't particularly suited for conventional agriculture and free-roaming livestock. But Gaia Foods needs no farm to feed a world hungry for some sinewy grub. All it needs is a laboratory, faith from investors and a couple more technological breakthroughs. The lab-grown meat developer was founded by Mr Vinayaka Srinivas and Mr Thanh Hung Nguyen, researchers who met at Duke-NUS Medical School in December 2019. The pair is trying to create structured beef and pork products - think beef steaks and pork chops - by growing animal cells on scaffolds, or thin plant-based surfaces, so that it mimics the texture of meat cuts as opposed to minced meat. “We think we can produce meat in a cleaner, green and animal-friendly manner that people can consume without all the guilt,” said Mr Srinivas, highlighting the benefits his industry peers have touted since the first lab-grown hamburger … [Read more...] about IN FOCUS: No roaming cattle but with high-tech labs, could Singapore be a ‘meat’ exporter?
SINGAPORE: Amid disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore can work towards becoming a “more digital and more resilient advanced manufacturing base in Asia for the world", said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Oct 20). The country is committed to developing cutting-edge capabilities in advanced manufacturing, an area that has continued to grow and create new jobs and training opportunities despite pandemic-induced recession, he added. Speaking at the opening of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2020 trade show, Mr Heng said the manufacturing sector in particular is set to see “an increased premium on resilience” as the prolonged coronavirus outbreak prompts companies to rethink their production and supply chains. There will also be added impetus for the reshoring, regionalisation and diversification of production bases and supply chains. In addition, the future of manufacturing will be determined by the convergence of digital … [Read more...] about Singapore can be ‘a more digital, more resilient advanced manufacturing base’ for the world: DPM Heng
SINGAPORE: Singapore wants to grow its manufacturing sector by 50 per cent over the next 10 years as it works to ensure that the sector continues to contribute to about a fifth of economic output over the medium term. This is more than just a quantitative target, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday (Jan 25), but a goal to pave the way for a “qualitative transformation” of the sector with advanced manufacturing making up a bigger share. “In the past, many of the older generation of manufacturing that depends on cost competitiveness … will increasingly be displaced by cheaper alternatives in other countries,” he told reporters following a visit to local precision engineering firm Univac. “Instead, beyond the 50 per cent increase in value, we want to see a greater proportion of our manufacturing going into advanced manufacturing, where the competition is not based on cost but based on the intellectual property that we can generate, the quality of the products … [Read more...] about Singapore aims to grow manufacturing sector by 50% over next 10 years
SINGAPORE: What will Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s leadership style look like as Prime Minister? Since rumours he may take over the top job in the country swirled a few years back, many have been looking for signs of his cast of mind and how he would govern a Singapore facing complex challenges. A longtime economic czar, with deep experience in the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Trade and Industry Ministry before his move to politics, Mr Heng’s knack for collaboration has been evident in his strategy to grow the economy over the last few Budgets, including this year’s announced on Monday (Feb 18). While most companies typically look for additional aid from the Government amid global business uncertainties in each Budget, Mr Heng focuses instead on giving the private sector more skin in the game in transforming the economy. In Mr Heng’s track record since taking over the Finance Ministry in October 2015, a shift away from a top-down model of government to one … [Read more...] about Commentary: The Singapore Budget and Heng Swee Keat’s shift away from Big Government