Singapore's economy is projected to grow at a slow pace of 1.0 to 3.0 per cent in 2016, Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran said on Monday.

Brushing aside talks that the economic situation in the island state is gloomy, Iswaran said the current situating is different from the severe economic downturn in 2008, Today reported.

"Last year, our economy grew at its slowest pace since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. The sluggish economic environment is likely to persist this year," ISwaran said at a gathering of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).

Echoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's comment in the Lunar New Year address, Iswaran said the government will boost small and medium enterprises in the challenging year ahead.

"Last year, our economy grew at its slowest pace since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. The sluggish economic environment is likely to persist this year," he said.

While the downturn in Chinese economy and the overall uncertainty in the global economy was likely to persist there are silver lining on the horizon, the minister said.

He said though the weak oil prices have depressed sentiment, it also means lower energy expenses for a whole lot of businesses.

He also cited low unemployment as a strong point for Singapore.

"We must keep a steady foot as we proceed with alertness and caution," he said. "That is the surest path to staying competitive, achieving sustainable growth over the long-term, and seizing opportunities when the economic environment improves, as it will."