When asked whether Singapore will still be an attractive place for businesses despite high inflation and concerns about the cost of living, Mr Wong said whether companies will come to Singapore is not just dependent on the country’s economic growth prospects.
“We have many attractive qualities in Singapore. We are stable, we are reliable, we have excellent connectivity, we have a high-quality workforce, we have a very attractive business environment, so these are all very good competitive advantages for us,” he added.
“Even now, amidst this uncertain economic environment, we continue to get a good pipeline of very attractive high-quality investments wanting to come into Singapore.”
As long as Singapore pays attention to its overall competitiveness, it will be able to anchor more of such investments and continue to create good jobs for Singaporeans, said Mr Wong.
Mr Wong also addressed the impending increase in the price of water.
“Water is yet a different matter altogether because water is such an essential resource for Singapore,” he said.
“It’s a strategic resource, it’s a matter of national security. We will always be a water-stressed nation, and we must appreciate the importance of water to Singapore.”
This is why the government has always “made the effort to price water properly” so that consumers understand “what the full price of water is” and make every effort to conserve water so that Singapore can always be confident that it will have enough water for its needs, said Mr Wong.
“I think it’s right for them (PUB) to explain and to announce the increases that are necessary to ensure that it’s able to recover the full cost and not just kick the can down the road and not do so,” he said, adding that the latter approach would be detrimental to Singapore’s interests.
Responding to a question about how support packages seem to be rolled out more regularly now, Mr Wong pointed to economic uncertainties in recent years as the reason for more off-Budget packages.
“Will this be the pattern in the future? No one can tell. Our preference, of course, will be to prepare and provide for things within the Budget itself,” he added.
“But if there are these unpredictable changes in the external environment, then certainly the Government will always stand ready to respond promptly and swiftly, and to make sure we provide all the necessary support for Singaporeans.” CNA
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