The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) SME Committee (SMEC) submitted its recommendations for the Singapore Budget 2019 to the government earlier this month.
In 2018, the Singapore economy grew 3.3%, in line with the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI’s) forecast of 3.0% to 3.5%. Moving forward, MTI forecasts 2019 growth to be at 1.5% to 3.5%.
While SMEs are continuing to transform, they face challenges brought about by the growing trade tensions, rising interest rates and signs of slowing growth against a backdrop of changing economic climate. The SBF National Business Survey 2018/2019 found that SMEs would welcome assistance in addressing transformational challenges, digitalisation and human capital development. Overseas expansion remains a top priority.
For the 2019 Budget, SMEC proposes 7 key recommendations to support SMEs in internationalisation, technology adoption, manpower development, competitiveness, cost and access to government support.
Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said, “The Singapore economy has done well in 2018. For 2019, SMEs are cautiously optimistic as there is an overall sense that the business environment has become more challenging in part due to ongoing trade tensions and rising interest rates. But therein also lies opportunities. The SBF SMEC will continue to work closely with our Government and business community to support businesses in overcoming the challenges of a tight labour market and uncertain business climate through capability building in areas such as digitalisation, internationalisation and manpower development, and continue to provide an effective platform for G2B and B2B dialogues and collaborations.”