Committee of Supply – Ministry of Trade and Industry

03 Mar 2020 3 min read

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Tripartite level” effort needed to support mid-career workers

A “tripartite level” effort is needed to support mid-career workers in their 40s and 50s, amid concerns over job security among these employees, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. 

In his committee of supply speech, Mr Chan said that support for this group must be done at a “tripartite level effort” of “businesses offering more employment and upgrading opportunities; workers making an effort to reskill; and the Government supporting businesses and workers in their endeavours”.

Three “Rs” – Redesign, reskill and recruit

He highlighted three ways in which companies can play an important role in supporting this national effort – redesign, reskill and recruit.

To encourage businesses to redesign their jobs to create new opportunities for existing and new workers, they can turn to the enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant, which now includes consultancy services for job redesign. 

The Government has also introduced a financial incentive for employers to upskill their workers. Under the new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit, eligible employers will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90 per cent of expenses for either enterprise or workforce transformation programmes.

To spur employers to develop their workers, S$3,000 of the credit will be set aside for job redesign and training purposes. 

A hiring incentive will be given to employers who hire local jobseekers aged 40 and above through eligible reskilling schemes such as the professional conversion or place-and-train programmes. 

For each eligible worker, the government will provide a 20 per cent salary support for six months, capped at S$6,000 in total.

“The journey ahead is full of both opportunities and challenges. But if we stand together – Government, businesses, workers and citizens – I am certain we can overcome any challenge and chart a better future for all of Singapore,” Chan Chun Sing said.

Transforming the economy for the long haul

To transform the economy for the long haul, Mr Chan stressed that Singapore would need to “adapt to changing supply chains” by expanding and upgrading our network of free trade agreements (FTAs).

Mr Chan said that the Republic’s 25 FTAs are with economies that represent more than 85 per cent of global gross domestic product and have provided Singapore’s businesses access to billions of consumers abroad by reducing tariffs and lowering non-tariff barriers.

The Government will also help firms to take advantage of these trade agreements to go international, he added.

In his Facebook post, Mr Chan explained the need for Singapore to remain connected to the world to 11 year-old Isla.

“By working together as One Team Singapore, we can continue to grow our economy, and leave behind a stronger Singapore so that our young like Isla can continue to have good jobs and opportunities to do even better. “

MTI COS 2020

During the MTI Committee of Supply(COS) debate today, I spoke about how we can emerge stronger as a nation, even as we take immediate steps to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak and cushion its impact on our businesses and workers. How we respond to the near-term challenges will determine how quickly we can recover. We aspire to be one of the first off the starting block and seize new opportunities when the situation stabilises. To do this, we must forge ahead with our long term plans to enhance our attractiveness as a business destination, transform our economy for tomorrow and stay innovative. Our people must also adapt quickly to technological changes, and be equipped with the right skills. If not, they will lose employability over time which will also hurt our businesses who require talent in order to thrive. We are committed to doing more to support our workers, especially those in their 40s and 50s, to reskill. I urge our companies to do their part by tapping on various programmes and incentives to redesign jobs, and to recruit our mature jobseekers who have a wealth of experience to offer. To compete globally, we must continue to enhance our value as a connectivity hub. Global supply chains are changing, and we need to adapt by expanding and upgrading our network of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Apart from enhancing our trade agreements including in the digital economy, we will also significantly strengthen our support to companies that want to go international. This includes helping our SMEs to access new customers and markets through the new Grow Digital initiative. In the video below, I had a chat with 11 year-old Isla, on why Singapore must remain connected to the world. By working together as One Team Singapore, we can continue to grow our economy, and leave behind a stronger Singapore so that our young like Isla can continue to have good jobs and opportunities to do even better. CCS For more information on MTI COS 2020: www.mti.gov.sg/COS2020 #TeamMTI #SGUnited

Posted by Chan Chun Sing on Monday, March 2, 2020
Panel to address cost of living concerns

The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) will form a panel to help address Singaporeans’ cost of living concerns, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng said, as part of the Government’s efforts to strengthen consumer protection.

The Consumer Empowerment Panel, to be convened in April, will work together with associations, unions and grassroots leaders, to help consumers stretch their hard-earned dollar,” he told Parliament during the debate on his ministry’s budget.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry will also review laws on competition and consumer protection to ensure they continue to be effective in deterring unfair practices, Dr Tan added.

Price comparison app for consumers to be rolled out across Singapore

Consumers will be able to use a crowdsourcing mobile application to compare retail prices of groceries, household items and hawker food soon.

The app, called Price Kaki, which allows users to share information about prices of items or dishes, while comparing and tracking price changes will be rolled out across Singapore “in the coming months”, Dr Tan announced.

Customised help for SMEs to transform

Businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will have more support to take the next leap in their transformation journey, with a slew of initiatives, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat shared in Parliament.

The Government will launch SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit, which provides each eligible employer $10,000 in credits, valid for three years, from April 1 this year to cover up to 90 per cent of out-of-pocket expenses for enterprise and workforce transformation programmes, said Mr Chee.

Companies can use the credits for transformation projects and to redesign jobs and redeploy workers to more productive roles, as well as send workers for approved training courses. This will benefit over 35,000 enterprises, which hire more than 1.5 million local workers.

More funding, new co-working space to help companies embrace innovation

The Government will be doing more to help companies in Singapore foster a spirit of innovation, from increasing funding options for certain sectors to creating a co-working space to help companies from the medtech and other sectors work on their unique products, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon announced.