Singapore's MTI eyes transforming wholesale trade industry to create more jobs

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) launched the Wholesale Trade Industry Transformation Map (ITM) to help build and establish a global marketplace and create jobs for the sector.

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Public servants and contractors sit at their desks at a public housing administration center in Singapore June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has officially launched the Wholesale Trade Industry Transformation Map (ITM) to boost one of Singapore economy's largest and most diverse sectors.

During his keynote address at the launch of the ITM, Minister S Iswaran said the sector comprises more than 34,000 firms engaging in Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions in a wide range of goods, from commodities to industrial and consumer products.

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"The sector is a key pillar of our economy, directly contributing more than 325,000 jobs and accounting for 12% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. It is a sector with strong growth opportunities for both wholesale trading enterprises, and for individuals seeking to develop expertise and specialisation in this field," he noted.

With the launch of the transformation map, the Iswaran noted that the government will work with industry players to build and establish digital marketplaces and attract global platform players into Singapore.

"These marketplaces will allow companies to pool resources and complement their product offerings to sharpen their competitiveness, which will be particularly beneficial to SMEs. These platforms will enhance companies' ability to immediately expand market reach and improve productivity," the minister said.

Additionally, the transformation map enables the government to strengthen enterprise capabilities and spur a vibrant ecosystem of wholesale traders by assisting local firms to build strong in-market capabilities and acquire strategic assets that can help them to gain a competitive edge in global markets.

Iswaran also stated that part of the efforts of ramping up the sector is the creation of more jobs.

"Through the ITM, the sector is expected to introduce about 10,000 new jobs by 2020. To achieve our goal of creating good jobs for Singaporeans, including in overseas markets that provide good exposure and learning opportunities, we need to ensure that our people have the appropriate right training and experience," he explained.

With this, training programmes will be made available for both entry-level graduates and mid-career professionals. Some of the initiatives currently in the works are from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, The Singapore University of Social Sciences, and at the Singapore Management University.