Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister For Economic Policies during his opening speech at the ITAP 2023. Photo by Emilia Claudio.

Singapore targets $160b manufacturing sector boost by 2030: DPM Heng

Heng Swee Keat put emphasis on three key priorities that the industry must continue to innovate on.

Singapore plans to boost its manufacturing sector’s contribution to $160b by 2030, whilst its current share stood at $130b.

Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister For Economic Policies said during the opening ceremony of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2023 that the country’s current manufacturing share to the gross domestic product (GDP) is at 20%.

“The global economy in 2023 faces challenging headwinds, with implications across all sectors including manufacturing,” Keat emphasised.

From a global perspective, 17% of the world’s output comes from the manufacturing industry.

“Indeed, manufacturing has historically been a springboard for innovations that have been game-changers for global economic and technological advancement,” Keat said.

In last year’s ITAP event, the Singapore government unveiled its Industry Transformation Maps to five key manufacturing sectors, growing jobs to 4,400 in the first semester of 2023.

Three key priorities

Three key areas demand innovation in manufacturing. First, innovation for performance is vital in reinforcing supply chain resilience through efficiency and connectivity, pressed Keat.

In the era of disruptions and geopolitical uncertainties, smarter and more connected manufacturing will reduce risks and tap into new growth areas, particularly in Asia.

Tackling climate change is a collective responsibility, and manufacturing, responsible for one-fifth of global carbon emissions, must do its part. 

Singapore's sustainability efforts, as outlined in the Singapore Green Plan 2030, emphasise a lower carbon footprint, enhanced efficiency, and greater circularity. Innovative solutions, like creating a circular economy for retired EV batteries, are steps toward net-zero manufacturing.

To thrive in Industry 4.0, the manufacturing sector must attract and retain the best talent, Keat said, emphasising scientific expertise, entrepreneurial instincts, and resilience. 

“To thrive in Industry 4.0, the manufacturing sector must attract and retain the best talent, emphasising scientific expertise, entrepreneurial instincts, and resilience. Initiatives like the Global Ready Talent Programme in Singapore support human resource practices that train graduates for roles in the manufacturing sector,” Keat said.

The talent programme has thus far provided 900 engineering internships.

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Collaboration efforts

As manufacturing becomes more advanced and precise, global and cross-border connectivity is crucial. Protectionist policies are not the solution; instead, businesses must adapt to stay competitive, and workers must refresh their skills.

Launching of the ITAP 2023 today. Photo by Emilia Claudio.

“As we enter a world of increasingly advanced and precision manufacturing, complex products will require global and cross-border connectivity,” Keat said.

“In the face of structural changes in the world economy – brought about by new technologies and trends such as climate change and ageing populations in advanced economies – the priority should instead be to encourage businesses to adjust and stay competitive and assist workers and talent to refresh their skills to preserve relevance,” added Keat.

Last year alone, the country recorded $22.4b in fixed asset investments driven by big manufacturing projects in the electronics sector.

Keat further urged attendees that countries must pursue bolstering cross-border value chains and partnerships.

SG Polytechnic and Malaysia ink MoU

After Keat’s welcoming speech, the Singapore Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation today.

Singapore Polytechnic Principal and Chief Executive Officer Soh Wai Wah, and Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation Chief Sustainability Development Officer Safuan Zairi signing the MoU at ITAP 2023 today. Photo by Emilia Claudio.

“[The partnership] aims to collaborate on promoting technopreneurship and innovation among students in both countries, with a focus on sustainability.” Keat added.


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