Singapore

S'pore’s focus must be on longer-term measures as global economy slows: PM Lee

S'pore’s focus must be on longer-term measures as global economy slows: PM Lee
PM Lee Hsien Loong visits staff working on Chinese New Year at Changi Airport on Feb 8, 2016. Photo: Jason Quah
Published: 12:53 PM, February 8, 2016
Updated: 1:00 PM, February 8, 2016

SINGAPORE — With the global economic outlook uncertain, Singapore will have to ride the ups and downs in the short-term, but its focus must remain on the longer-term, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Feb 8).

And this means focusing on skills upgrading, as well as giving productivity and training a bigger push.

“These are the things we have been doing, and I think if the economy slows down, it’s an opportunity for us to take them even more seriously and to work at them," said Mr Lee.

"It always happens when business is up, and you talk about training, nobody has time to train. When business is down, or a bit slower, we have a bit of capacity to do more of that."

Mr Lee said this following a visit to Changi Airport today where he met more than 200 workers.

When asked about what workers can expect from this year’s Budget – which will be delivered on Mar 24, Mr Lee said the focus must not just be on the "goodies'.

“I think the attitude should be – what can we do in this Budget which will help give our efforts a further push, on productivity, on upgrading, on transforming our companies to be competitive in this world, and to be able to operate even beyond Singapore, in the region?"

He added: "Because although things are down, as I said in my New Year message, there are still opportunities – at home, as well as in the region, around us, and we should be looking for them all the time."

During today's visit, Mr Lee – who was accompanied by key union leaders – gave out red packets to the workers, as well as mandarin oranges and cookies. He has been conducting these Chinese New Year visits with the Labour Movement since 2008. CHANNEL NEWSASIA