Middle Managers

Government in Business

Should governments be in business? What is the proper role of the state in the economy? How can governments best foster growth and development without being too intrusive? These questions are as old as the economics discipline itself. However, they are as relevant to both developed and developing countries as ever. While standard economic theory often prescribes that governments should maintain an arms-length relationship with businesses, the reality in most developing countries is that financial markets are not sufficiently mature, private sector capacity is often weak, and the state may be the only actor that can mobilise resources for national development, and often for the long haul. The experience of the East Asian Tiger economies in the second half of the 20th century, as well as China’s rapid development in the last thirty years, suggests that government activism and involvement are often prerequisites for successful development. If nothing else, they are catalytic in purpose.

How then should governments be involved without crowding out private sector initiative? How can governments develop commercial capabilities without wastage of precious resources or creating incentives for rent-seeking and corruption? When should governments be involved and when should they exit? And, if it is to be involved, what form should that involvement take? Should the government focus on being a regulator? Or, should it also be a purchaser, a promoter, a partner, and a shareholder? Does a higher level of government involvement in business help or hinder a country’s development?

This five-day programme at the LKY School for senior officials involved in regulating, governing or managing state-owned and government-linked enterprises takes a pragmatic, rather than ideological, approach to understanding the role of government in business. This programme, taught mostly by former senior practitioners of the Singapore government, suggests that there are few universal or one-size-fits-all answers to the complex questions above. Instead, a sensitivity to context, a willingness to question economic orthodoxy, and the ability to adapt the economic policies of a country to changing circumstances are key to managing the relationship between government and business in a way that advances a country’s economic development.

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy National University of Singapore 469C Bukit Timah Road Singapore 259772

Mon 19 March 2018 to Fri 23 March 2018

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Mon 19 February 2018

At the end of this five-day programme, participants can expect to:

  • Appreciate the various roles of government in business and the contexts in which each of these roles are more (or less) important;
  • Understand the considerations and constraints of government being in business, and identify clearly the arguments for entry or exit;
  • Develop practical, empirically-grounded insights into the risks and pitfalls of government in business; and
  • Gain exposure to Singapore’s experience in managing government-business relations, and appreciate its strengths and limitations.

The programme is structured around the four main roles of the government in business: regulatingpartneringstewarding, and promoting. Each of these roles will be examined through intensive discussions with experts and practitioners, most of whom have held senior positions in the Singapore government. The classroom sessions would be complemented by learning journeys to a variety of entities in Singapore that reflect the differing relationships between government and business.

Participants are expected to deepen their understanding of the often-complex relationship between government and business, especially in the context of emerging markets, and become more reflective of their own organisation and country contexts.

This programme is designed for senior managers, policymakers and regulators in government, particularly those from the ministries of finance, infrastructure, the economy and planning. Senior managers and executives from sovereign wealth funds, state-owned enterprises as well as banks and private investment entities would also benefit from the various discussions straddling the public-private divide.

Programme cost:

S$6,248 + 7% GST#;

S$5,623.20 +7% GST#(for group registrations of 3 and above)

# Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applicable for Singapore-based participants and overseas participants who are self-funded or sponsored by a Singapore organisation.

Skillsfuture Study Award (For Singaporeans Only)
Skillsfuture Study Award is available for this programme. To apply, please download the application form and submit your completed form here. Visit or email us at decb64_bGt5c3Bwb2VAbnVzLmVkdS5zZw==_decb64 for more information.


Executive Education Department
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772

Tel: (65)6516 6458/ (65) 6601 1183
Fax: (65) 6872 9291

Application Deadline:19 Feb 2018


Mrs Lim Hwee Hua

Former Minister, Singapore Visiting Distinguished Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Professor Lam Chuan Leong

Professor (Practice), LKY School

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Mr. Tan Yong Soon

Former Permanent Secretary, Singapore Adjunct Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Donald Low

Associate Dean (Executive Education & Research) & Associate Professor (Practice), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Mr. Ong Boon Hwee

Chief Executive Officer, Stewardship Asia

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Mr. Stephen Wermert

PPP Specialist and Consultant

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