SINGAPORE – The Government and corporate sector must work more closely together given slowing global and domestic growth, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday night (July 23).

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said at the Singapore Corporate Awards event that such collaboration was one of three initiatives that businesses can adopt amid a time of political, economic, social and technological upheaval.

The other two are to strengthen their fundamentals and maintain good corporate governance, as well as pressing on with innovation and transformation.

Mr Heng said the Government will continue to partner businesses to promote forward-looking, pro-business regulations and policies.

These include working towards smarter regulations that would enable innovation and reduce the cost of compliance, while ensuring that risks are effectively managed.

Some examples include introducing regulatory sandboxes such as for fintech and for autonomous vehicles. Firms can now test-bed solutions in real but contained environments.

On the digital front, the Government is also working with the industry to enhance business processes and efficiency with new norms.

Other initiatives are under way. The Infocomm Media Development Authority is proposing changes to facilitate digital transactions, including the digitalisation of property transactions and cross-border trade documentation such as bills of lading.

These are documents issued by a carrier to a shipper detailing information about the cargo.

A public consultation was announced last month on the Electronic Transactions Act.

In addition, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority is also reviewing the Companies Act to facilitate companies conduct meetings and interacting with stakeholders digitally.

On the international trade front, while the support for globalisation has waned, the Government will continue to promote an open, rules-based, multilateral trading system, Mr Heng said at the event held at Resorts World Convention Centre.

“In our next phase of our development, the 4G leadership will also strive to harness our diverse strengths,” he added.

“We have already begun the journey, with the Future Economy Council, a tripartite committee that charts the direction of Singapore’s economy, and the ongoing implementation of our Industry Transformation Maps.”

Mr Heng added that government agencies will continue to help workers upskill to meet the needs of the future economy.