Singapore Targets S$13 Billion in Investment Commitments in 2013

Singapore is targeting as much as S$13 billion ($11 billion) of investment commitments in manufacturing and services this year even as the city state struggles with rising business costs amid curbs on foreign workers.

The country lured fixed-asset investments of about S$16 billion last year, the Economic Development Board said today in its annual review today. The government is also targeting as much as S$8 billion in business spending in 2013 from manufacturing and services industries such as information and communications, education and health care.

Singapore, which has been ranked the easiest place to do business for seven straight years by the World Bank, is competing with lower-cost countries such as neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia for foreign investment as an uneven global recovery hurts demand for exports. A government push to reduce the island’s reliance on cheap workers has tightened the labor market, pushing the unemployment rate to a six-quarter low.

“The adjustments that companies have to make in Singapore of course is a concern to us,” Leo Yip, the board’s chairman, said at a press briefing today. “We continue to work with companies to support their adjustments to the manpower policy changes.”

Investments this year should help generate 19,000 to 22,000 skilled jobs and add as much as S$18 billion to gross domestic product annually when completed, the board said. Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer-products maker, are among companies that are expanding their operations in the island smaller than New York City.

Projects that were committed in 2012 by companies such as will create about 18,600 jobs when realized and add S$20.3 billion to GDP every year, it said.

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