The BGA Singapore Team led by Managing Director Nydia Ngiow, wrote an update to clients on the key takeaways from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech which prioritized national unity and economic transformation.


  • Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his National Day Rally speech on August 21, underscoring the need for national unity and continued efforts to transform and restructure Singapore’s economy. The speech place against the backdrop of significant geopolitical and economic headwinds as U.S.- China tensions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continue to disrupt global supply chains and trade.
  • Lee reiterated Singapore’s commitment to the international rules-based order and fundamental principles of international law, citing growing tensions between the United States and China as a major cause for concern.


  • The prime minister outlined stronger national identity, remaining open and connected and training a world-class talent pool as three vital ways for Singapore to build resiliency and secure growth. Lee stressed the threat of online misinformation as the global trend of protectionism as concerns for the country while stressing the importance of doing more in strong sectors like biomedical sciences to attract foreign talent.
  • The planned increase in the goods and services tax (GST) rate from 7 to 9 percent in two stages will take effect on January 1, 2023, despite global inflationary pressures. Lee assured Singaporeans that the government will continue to provide support through the Assurance Packageand roll out different support measures for lower-income households.


  • Companies should engage key political officeholders on talent-development initiatives, which will remain top of mind ahead of the next general election. Lee acknowledged anxieties over greater job competition from foreign talent and noted that the government will prioritize the development of the local workforce as a key policy objective in the coming years.
  • Businesses can expect additional government initiatives to attract foreign investment and top talent from around the world, particularly in fast-emerging sectors.Lee reassured global companies that Singapore remains open for business. The Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Trade and Industry and other economic agencies will announce new programs in due course.

BGA will continue to keep you updated on developments in Singapore as they occur. If you have any comments or questions, please contact BGA Singapore Managing Director Nydia Ngiow at