Looking back at Singapore’s Economic Councils in the 2010s.

One of the Government’s strategies in tackling challenges on the economic front is the formation of economic councils. The most recent council is the Future Economic Council, which is formed after the Council of Future Economy presented its report in February 2017. Such councils are not new, with a number of them established over the past 10 years to grapple with specific issues. Class Notes look at the numerous councils in the last decade.

  • 2009: The Economic Strategies Committee published its report, which was a 10 year plan to develop Singapore's economy and aimed for a two to three per cent annual growth until 2020. It also recommended the creation of a “high-level national council” to drive productivity efforts.

  • 2010: The National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC) was formed to oversee productivity efforts and implement recommendations from the Continuing Education and Training Masterplan (CET) 2020. Then Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (DPM) served as its founding Chairman.

  • 2011: DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam takes over as NPCEC Chairman.

  • 2014: The SkillsFuture Council was formed to oversee the CET, and the NPCEC was renamed as the National Productivity Council (NPC) to focus on increasing the productivity of businesses and industries. Both councils were chaired by DPM Tharman.

  • 2015: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the formation of the 30-member Committee of the Future Economy (CFE) chaired by Mr Heng and then Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S Iswaran. The committee had to examine Singapore's future economic challenges and strategies and present their findings in late 2016.

  • 2016: The Council For Skills, Innovation And Productivity (CSIP) was formed and replaced the SkillsFuture Council and NPC. The council will be in charge of the Industry Transformation Programmes (ITPs) introduced in Budget 2016.

  • 2017: The CFE presented their findings and launched their recommendations in February. In July, the Future Economic Council was formed as a successor to CSIP. Chaired by DPM Heng, the council will implement the recommendations in the CFE and continue with responsibilities in CSIP.

  • 2020: The FEC will also supervise the newly-formed Emerging Stronger Taskforce. The task force had to make recommendations to the FEC on readjusting existing economic policies to cope with new risks from the Covid-19 pandemic. The two chairmen of this task force will be Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee and PSA International Group CEO Tan Chong Meng.

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