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Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 10:39:11 AM
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (left) speaking to Tharman at the IMF Headquarters in Washington DC, United States. — EPA
SINGAPORE’S push towards greater productivity has won its key architect and spokesman an award for good policy-making.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine, a global banking and finance publication.
He will receive the award today in a private presentation at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington.
The accolade recognises Tharman’s “over-arching role” in shifting Singapore’s economic growth model from one dependent on an ever-expanding working population to a steadier platform of increasing productivity, Euromoney said yesterday.
The shift is taking place even while Singapore’s status as an innovative trade and financial services hub to diversified export markets is being maintained.
“Not content with ... relying on low taxes to attract foreign direct investment and business ... (he) has spearheaded a push to find new sources of economic growth, while building a social safety net to address discontent over strained infrastructure and rising living costs,” it added.
“There is universal consensus that there is no better policymaker than (he) to push through this domestic agenda, while actively crafting policies to ensure the city-state maintains its relevance amid competition from such rivals as Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Dubai.”
In glowing reports, Euromoney detailed Tharman’s successes and challenges in helping Singapore move towards more sustainable and inclusive growth.
Describing him as “energetic” and “reformist”, the magazine also lauded Tharman’s accomplishments outside Singapore.
He is the first Asian to chair the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee and was seen as a contender to lead the IMF itself.
Tharman has also earned acclaim for his prescient and wide-ranging warnings that the region needs stronger and timelier reforms and better regulatory coordination, it added. With degrees from the London School of Economics, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, he “is regarded as one of the region’s smartest finance ministers”.
He is the 34th recipient of Euromoney’s annual award and is only the second Singaporean winner, after Hon Sui Sen in 1982. Euromoney’s choice is based on the opinions of its senior editors, the world’s leading bankers and economists around the world. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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