SINGAPORE: At the Reinventing Destiny on Aug 14 (Monday), Mr Piyush Gupta, the head of DBS Group Holdings, called for reconsidering how the country’s sizable reserves can be better deployed.
“We’ve still not caught up around the fact that we are a rich country. We have capital resources; how do we put it to work to create competitive advantage?” Mr Gupta, who has headed DBS since 2009, is quoted in Bloomberg as saying.
The conference was held by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on the occasion of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s 100th birth anniversary.
IPS Director Mr Janadas Devan explained the conference’s theme of the country’s changing identity in the middle of global geopolitical uncertainty this way: ”It is not to celebrate our past. It is in recognition of our fate: We are small so we can never be cocksure about our future. But we also know Singapore cannot exist without being defiant — not hubris, which means overweening pride, but let’s say ‘boldness’.”
Mr Gupta spoke during the conference’s first session, which centred around 21st Century Economic Transition, saying that the country needs to increase globalisation efforts, even as Singapore embraces new trends, including digitalisation.
He also touched on Singapore’s reserves, which have even been estimated at more than one trillion US dollars.
Despite this accumulation of reserves, the allocated budget for welfare purposes has been limited.
The DBS head that the government can rethink whether a larger part may be utilized “address the underbelly of society” or increase spending on new sectors and industries.
He also said that Singapore’s neighbours “think of us as a self-serving country,” adding that it may also take a lesson from Japan in investing in the region to build solidarity.
At the question and answer portion of the session, Mr Gupta also suggested that Singapore could play the role of interlocutor between the two global superpowers, the United States and China. /TISG
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