On Wednesday afternoon (2 Sept), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke in Parliament about Singapore’s response to Covid-19.
He said that investment projects will create job opportunities for Singaporeans but first, in order for them to come here, we need to make them feel welcome.
This is because Singapore does not yet have the full complement of specialist engineers and other expertise for all these types of work.
Regional and global HQs, by design, need to draw talent from around the world and be run by international teams.
Local Companies Need Access To Global Talent To Grow And Develop
He cited GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as an example of how pharmaceutical companies began investing in Singapore two to three decades ago, through manufacturing plants first, before setting up regional HQs and research labs here as they expand.
He further explained that Singaporean and site director of GSK, Lim Hock Heng first joined the company in 1992 as a production engineer.
Lim had picked up skills and knowledge from his foreign co-workers and climbed up the ranks.
With that, he runs most of their Singapore sites today, which manufacture key GSK products for the world.
He also gave examples from financial services, such as Citibank, as well as semiconductors, oil and gas, and IT sectors.
It is not only global companies here that need foreign manpower, he added. Local companies also need access to global talent to grow and develop.
SMEs need skills, knowledge and expertise that they may not have in Singapore, for example, to develop an external wing and to move up the value chain.
By doing so, they also create “good new jobs for Singaporeans”, he said.
Fortune 500 Companies Want To Move Regional HQs Here
Key financial institutions also want to grow operations here, said PM Lee.
Companies are seeking a safe harbour, where politics is stable, there is rule of law, people are hardworking and united, and where the country will come through the pandemic safely.
In a troubled world, Singapore is one of the few trusted countries that stand out and we must guard that reputation zealously, he added.
He revealed that there are companies which have expressed interest in moving their operations to Singapore, including a pharmaceutical company that is planning to build a facility here to manufacture vaccines and another one specialising in pandemic risk insurance.
Several Fortune 500 companies are considering moving their regional HQs to Singapore because of political uncertainties elsewhere, he said.
Major financial institutions want to grow their operations here too as they see good prospects in the region and want a stable base to work from, he added.
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