Singapore committed to free flow of goods, services and capital: Deputy PM

Singapore will remain committed to the free flow of goods, services, capital, data, ideas and talent, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat Saturday evening.

He made the remarks while outlining three ways that the government will help businesses and workers thrive in the post-COVID world.

"In a more fractious post-COVID world, whatever the rest of the world does, we will persist to finding new links to enable these flows, especially in connecting critical supply lines around the world.

Singapore must always remain an open, trading nation, he said, adding that "we are finished if we close up."

Second, Singapore must continue to invest in its infrastructure even if it means delaying some projects, he said.

It is important because "such projects keep us connected to the world, makes travelling within Singapore faster and more pleasant, and gives us all beautiful homes", he noted.

Thirdly, Singapore must continue to invest in research and innovation to sharpen its competitiveness.

Heng announced that as Singapore finalizes its R&D plan for the next five years, 20 billion Singapore dollars (about 14 billion U.S. dollars ) will be set aside to support basic and applied research in high impact areas, such as health and biomedical sciences, climate change, and artificial intelligence.

Heng is the last speaker in the six national broadcasts on Singapore's future after COVID-19.

According to him, the most urgent task now is jobs, and the government is trying hard to preserve current jobs and creating as many new jobs as possible.

The National Jobs Council has started work to oversee the creation of 100,000 jobs and training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, he said.

He said that Singapore will not only overcome this crisis, but will emerge from it stronger as an economy, as a society and as a people. 

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