Addenda to President’s Address: Nation of Opportunity
We aim to keep Singapore a nation of opportunity, where every Singaporean can succeed whatever his starting point; where pathways upwards are open to all, at all stages of life.
In a globalised world with keener competition, we must work harder together to create opportunities for all Singaporeans. But we are well placed – Asia is rising and Singapore is well-positioned to capitalise on this rise. We have an open and business-friendly environment, a high reputation, good governance and strong institutions, well-developed infrastructure and a skilled workforce.
These will help us to transform the economy, raise productivity, invest in R&D, and sharpen our competitive edge. We have set aside more than $300 million for the next 3 years to support SMEs to seize new growth opportunities, as well as $1 billion from the National Productivity Fund for mainly SME programmes. We will keep upgrading our port and airport, and enhancing our connectivity – be it in physical, economic or relationship links – to reinforce our position as a Global-Asia Hub. We will maintain our lead as a centre for international financial, legal, and intellectual property services. Our network of trade and economic agreements will link Singapore businesses to opportunities in other growing economies. Singapore businesses that do well locally and abroad will in turn generate better prospects for our people.
A strong economy will create more professional, managerial, executive and technical (PMET) jobs for Singaporeans. We will equip Singaporeans with the skills to take on a wide range of specialist, managerial and leadership roles. We will strengthen our Continuing Education and Training (CET) system. We will develop career pathways, and improve applied learning tracks and specialist programmes. We will provide more structured career guidance and counselling. To ensure that Singa¬poreans enjoy fair treatment in hiring decisions, and full information about opportunities available, we will implement the Fair Consideration Framework, and roll out the Jobs Bank in 2014.
All young Singaporeans will have the opportunities to maximise their potential, regardless of their family circumstances or background. We will give every child a strong start through quality and affordable pre-school education. In schools, pupils will be exposed to physical, art and music education from young. Education will be holistic, emphasising not just academics but also values and character, to prepare them for the real test of life. We want to give every child the compass and skills to navigate tomorrow’s challenges, and progress along different paths to succeed in many different ways.
The details of how MCI, MOE, MOF, MinLaw, MOM, MSF, MTI, MOT and PMO (MAS, NCCS, NRF) are working to make Singapore our nation of opportunity are highlighted in the Annex.