Yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that he was “cautiously optimistic about the year ahead” as Singapore gradually reopens its borders and resumes travel.

Lee spoke to journalists during a visit at Jurong Point on Chinese New Year. He stated that although some sectors, such as F&B, still face challenges, Singapore’s economy was on an even keel and is expected to grow by three to five percent this year.

Lee answered a question regarding his plans for 2022. Europe is a little more cautious, but they are also growing.

He stated that while the Omicron waves are uncertain, they have “gone up quickly (and) are coming back quite fast” in developed countries.

Lee stated, “Hopefully that means that the economy can continue to go without being disrupted too much.”

Lee also stated that China’s zero-COVID policy creates uncertainty.

“I understand the reasons. They have to put in a lot of effort to keep this going. It could have an unexpected impact on their economy, which could have an adverse effect on ours. We have to be aware of that,” Lee said.

He said that Singapore’s neighbors are doing “ok” in the meantime.

“We are gradually opening our borders and hope to resume business as we also travel, including tourism, which I hope will be the case.” Overall, I feel cautiously optimistic about this year.

Lee thanked taxi drivers and delivery men for their hard work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

S Iswaran, Transport Minister, Senior Minister for Transport Amy Khor and Yeo Wan Lin, labour representatives, were with him

Lee stated, “Many families depend upon them, and they have been working hard to support themselves.”

He said that taxi drivers and private-hire drivers have been “very adversely affected” by the fact that people work from home and there are not many tourists coming to Singapore.

“And that has a significant effect on their income. But, with the government’s assistance and their efforts to adapt, I believe they are all doing well. We all hope for a better year, the year of the Tiger.

Yesterday’s visit to Jurong Point saw Congress Ng Chee Meng, secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress, say he is “relieved” the economy is recovering and that delivery riders and taxi drivers are “improving”.

Ng said, “Glad to see that the gradual economic recovery has restoring livelihood opportunities for many of them.”

“The future holds great promise. We hope to help our drivers, our courier riders with better economic opportunities, particularly in areas like workplace injury, and insurances. That will give them some assurance.”