Navigating supply chain disruptions
As the COVID-19 virus wreaked economic turmoil globally, modern supply chains have been caught in a perfect storm of disruptions. Businesses are feeling the squeeze on both their top-line and bottom-line performances, as they grapple with delays in shipments, container shortages, constrained production capacity, and rising costs for raw material, shipment, labour and fuel.
As a key port in the Asia Pacific region, Singapore will need to take a decisive lead in supply chain transformation. The Government will have to develop strategies for the future, providing support for companies to accelerate digital transformation, putting in place more robust disaster recovery plans and diversifying supply chains to make them more agile and resilient, especially in hard-hit sectors like manufacturing, aviation, construction, retail and food and beverage.
A new dawn for trade, travel and tourism
Clearer skies are on the horizon as borders reopen, with a bright outlook for the recovery of travel, trade and tourism sectors. Advanced estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed that the Singapore economy grew 6.5% year-on-year and that total trade at current prices was up 18.7% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021.
A high population vaccination rate of 83% as of November 2021, coupled with cautious easing of travel restrictions and the establishment of vaccinated travel lanes, are already contributing to the recovery of these sectors, with soaring demand for flights from Singapore to the rest of Asia ahead of the year-end holidays in 2021 and the coming Lunar New Year.
As the economy reopens, a key issue that Singapore will need to address is talent shortage — especially considering its ageing population and foreign manpower hiring rules.
The nation-state has strong pull factors such as world-class healthcare, quality education, political stability and well-developed infrastructure that supports digital connectivity. But amid intensifying global competition, the country will need to position itself to attract highly qualified workers to boost economic growth while upskilling employees to be future-relevant.