Singapore to push ahead with megaprojects but schedules to pace according to demand

The Edge Singapore |
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SINGAPORE (June 14): Singapore will push ahead with various mega infrastructure projects such as Changi T5, Tuas Mega Port, and submarine cable hubs. Various regional developments like Punggol Digital District, Jurong Lake District, Sungei Kadut Eco-District, Greater Southern Waterfront are going ahead.
However, trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing said that the timeline for these projects might differ from their original schedules. "We will pace the timelines for these projects according to demand.”
“But do not doubt this: We will get them all done,” he said.
In his speech, Chan addressed calls for the economy to reopened fully so that companies can get back to doing business.
A direct impact of the Covid-19 fallout is the risk of more job losses, as many companies’ operations grind to a halt amid the circuit breaker measures. However, the government won’t be rushed into lifting the restrictions.
“Many say the best way to save jobs is to resume our economic activities more quickly. I understand,” said Chan.
“But opening up hastily and closing businesses again if infections spike once more, will be more disruptive to businesses and workers. Hence, let us resume safely, progressively and sustainably,” said Chan.
However, companies need to adapt and not expect ‘business-as-usual’ after the economy reopens. Some business models got to be changed and the government is ready to help companies adapt while creating 100,000 employment opportunities.
“We may well need to create more jobs, if the situation worsens,” said Chan.
In his speech, Chan reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to free trade. The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused many countries to turn inwards. “We must resist these pressures. A less connected world means a poorer world and fewer opportunities for all. A less connected Singapore means fewer and poorer quality jobs for us,” he said.
However, even if Singapore couldn’t prevent other countries from being more protectionist, there are existing niches that the country can continue to rely on.
For example, factories here produce four out of the world’s top ten drugs, Singapore is the world’s seventh largest exporter of chemicals.
The country also plans to maintain its track record of unfettered movement of goods, services and capital. No export restrictions were imposed, nor foreign investments nationalised.
“We kept our production lines open for global supply chains, including critical materials for surgical masks. We worked with companies to increase their production, so that we could meet Singapore’s and the world’s needs, and we facilitated the continued flow of essential goods and people through our ports and airports,” he said.
Chan believes that with such, foreign companies will feel safer investing here. He cited how during the 1970s oil crises when oil prices spiked, Singapore didn’t restricted exports then. Jurong Island was able to grow even bigger as a petro-chemical hub since then.
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