Singapore ends 2017 with a bang, records 3.5% economic growth

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a meeting Reuters

2017 ended better than expected for the Singapore economy, which registered an overall growth of 3.5 percent this year.

In his New Year message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said 2017 has been a good year for the country, given the economic growth which is more than double the initial forecasts by analysts and economists.

Boosted by the robust demand for electronic gadgets, the 2017 growth was faster than 2016's 2 percent. This trade-driven support is expected to continue this year.

"We have benefitted from the global economic upswing. But more fundamentally, our productivity has grown. Singaporeans are upgrading and learning new skills, while businesses are innovating and adopting new technology. That is how we will stay competitive and ready for the future," he said.

Lee said one of the highlights of the past year was the improvement in incomes, particularly in low and middle brackets.

As 2018 unfolds, the Prime Minister said Singapore will push through with its plans to restructure its economy and boost its infrastructure. This will include implementing several industry transformation maps, harnessing workers' skills, and growing the number of jobs available for those in the country's talent pool.

Meanwhile, Singapore will also be preparing to up its game in the healthcare scene as the aging population continues to expand. Adding more pre-schools will also be a priority to build a stronger educational foundation for children.

In terms of infrastructure, Lee said the government will keep working on enhancing Singapore's connectivity with the Changi Airport Terminal 5, the Tuas Megaport, and the High-Speed Rail project to Malaysia in the pipeline.

"All these are essential investments in our future. They require time and resources and will stretch way beyond this term of Government. We have to plan well ahead for them," Lee stated.

He added, "This is how we have built today's Singapore – each generation working and saving for the future, building on what it inherited and passing on something better to the next generation. This was the creed that drove the Pioneer Generation of Singaporeans, and it must animate our generation too."