A finely-balanced Budget that recognises both social and business needs, it builds on our past successes in Singapore to create a brighter future. The various initiatives attend to the needs of our people, while supporting the growth ambitions of our local businesses.
Budget 2016 bears the signature of the new Finance Minister and the Government’s desire to finely balance both social and business needs.
This year’s Budget focuses on two broad groups — the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and our people — highlighting the importance of a concerted partnership between enterprises, trade associations and chambers (TACs), government agencies, and unions. It pledges support for SMEs that are venturing into innovation and exploring foreign markets, by affording easier access to government grants and support. It also looks at adopting effective short-term measures that will help our economy to continue restructuring and growing domestically, while being equipped to also compete internationally. The focus is outside of large multinational companies, yet the approach is sector-focused, with calibrated measures that address the unique needs and challenges faced by Singapore’s SMEs.
In many ways, this is a far-sighted Budget, looking at innovation outside the prism of technology and encouraging a change in the mind-set on how businesses of the future should conduct themselves in a digital world. This is also demonstrated in the way that instituting elaborate schemes has been abandoned in favour of enhancements to existing ones – making significant but small, incremental steps towards economic transformation. Whatever perceived gaps exist in the support for innovation and value creation could well be further addressed in the future recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy. In some ways, Budget 2016 is also a confident one, reinforcing the prudence of a budget surplus for the longer-term, even as the transformation of the economy calls for new investments.
But most significantly, Budget 2016 is about the abiding vision of Singapore’s economy as competitive and relevant to a globalised world, an economy that we can all take part in and contribute to.
Tham Sai Choy
Chairman of KPMG’s Asia Pacific Region
and Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore