The Covid-19 is leaving its devastating impact firmly on the economy of every country and Singapore is also in one of them. On 11-Aug-2020, The Ministry of Trade and Industry (Chan Chun Sing) held a morning press conference and talked about the economic performance of the country. And said that “The second quarter of 2020 has the worst economic performance in the history of Singapore. We are not returning to a pre-COVID-19 world. We must forge a new direction as the recovery is not going to be fast”.
Continuous Shrinkage of Economy
According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, the performance of the economy was worse than the estimated figure of the government. The government estimated the economy shrinkage of 12.6 percent but the figures showed that the economy of the country contracted by 13.2 percent in the April to June quarter. This shocking figure also makes a harsh decline from 0.3 percent contraction of the last quarter.
COVID-19 impact on past growth
The Minister seems to be worried about this pandemic condition and said in the conference that the estimation of 2020 shows that growth generated over the last few years will be faded away due to COVID-19 and the recovery will not smooth like normal days and it will take a lot of time. He said, “The full-year forecast for 2020 of -7 percent to -5 percent will negate the growth generated over the last two to three years” and “we can expect recurring waves of infection and disruption”.
Chan also headed his talks towards the geopolitical issues and suggested the world to not destabilize the peace by opening any kind of conflict as this will affect every country in this plague. He said, “We must avoid being caught between the conflicts of major powers or to be stranded in a fragmenting world of trade relations and technological standards”.
Companies should Recognize their work
In this situation, every firm should be ready to face every type of situation and to change their working style and capability. The Minister said, “Due to COVID-19 many investments will come in the country but many existing ones may also diversify”. So, we have to work during this pandemic to build a new economy with a change and should not wait for COVID-19 to go away.
Some global companies are modifying themselves from “just in time” to “just in case”. They are moving towards the digital hub and becoming independent from one site.
Chan talked about the changing nature of the job that this pandemic is promoting remote working that means the workers from other countries can do our work from their home and this is a great opportunity that we have located many Headquarters over the years for Singaporeans.
“This is not the Asian Financial Crisis or Global Financial Crisis where we hunkered down, waited, and things improved in months. If we wait, we will likely be in worse shape than we are now”. Chan said.
We don’t have solutions for everything but staying still is not an option. We have to walk in the new economic way and should prepare ourselves for a very different and uncertain future. We must help our people to realize the need for change and implement it smoothly.
Dissimilarities may exist
During his conference, Chan also said to be attentive during modifications as many dissimilarities may occur like China doesn’t use WhatsApp so some have to contact them through WeChat but the US doesn’t use WeChat so some have to contact them through WhatsApp.
Chan said that these modifications will cause tension in society so we have to take care of all those who are affected by job and business losses. Chan said these tensions can divide our society so we have and will continue to do these changes in a durable way that doesn’t affect and strengthen our social fabric.
Chan said the government will not stay in comfort but will help the people to face the challenges. Singapore will be open for business safely and not be in a binary open or close situation. With all the SOP’s we must stay open and quickly isolate those who are affected by COVID. Some high-risk areas are restricted to open markets. We should be held tight to exercise our social responsibilities by doing risk-free activities.
Chan said that we will give a boost and help those firms which have opportunities to grow in this pandemic. In this way, their growth will cause more jobs and opportunities for our workers. When these firms will grow with the competition a new environment will grow up for new businesses to start and plant here for the long term and it will help to make sustainable systems for the future.
Chan also said to help those firms which are suffering a drop in demand by cherishing their core skills to emerge stronger. The government will help them with cash flows from JSS and by giving them rental relief. The government will also redirect them to generate revenue and become efficient.
The government will help businessmen to adjust themselves and help firms whose industries are permanently changed to reform themselves. These are the most difficult firms but the government will help them to reform by delivering their new products in the market.
“To help our businesses for growth we will strengthen your link with the world because our business and financial hub level depends on strong connectivity with the world. We will help and invest in our people to train them for tomorrow’s job” said Chan.
Chan said that the Government knows that these decisions are very hard and tough but they are necessary for these conditions. The faster we adopt the change, the faster our recovery will be. And if we slow down the opportunities will go away and we will face harsh conditions than this. Companies should also treat workers with respect and dignity and we must maintain the core skills and abilities of our country.