Tuesday, May 21, 2024

28 Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Minister of Finance - Ministry of Finance, Singapore

Finance Minister Shanmugaratnam, with a 'dogma free' vision of Singapore' s future as a key Asian financial centre

While the MAS Central Bank maintains a department for the financial centre, it is the Finance Minister who ultimately calls the shots in the uber-efficient city state. Shanmugaratnam in any case was formerly head of the MAS, and is a member of the influential Washington based economic and monetary think tank, the 'Group of Thirty'.

LSE, Cambridge and Harvard educated Tharman after his time as head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore entered politics and spent five years as education minister before being appointed as finance minister in 2009.

One of the world's most thoughtful finance ministers, Shanmugaratnam has taken a lead in repairing relations with the IMF, tarnished after the Asian crisis of the 1990s and is instrumental in reviving the 'Changmai initiative', a regional safety net arrangement between Asian states and the IMF in which future sovereign crises are met 20/80 p.c. by the regional states and the IMF. He is also developing an intelligence and analytic secretariat in Singapore's finance ministry which is expected to spin off as a body supporting a Singapore-based base for the Changmai initiative.

Drawing on his education experience, he has been critical of the UK's downgrading of vocational and polytechnic education in favour of universities, as 'elitist', and in his own country has been promoting a 'dogma free' policy that aims to tackle inequality in the one party state, with an economic policy based on the three pillars of investment in education, making the labour market an effective social safety net, and encouraging self reliance amongst Singaporeans.