SINGAPORE: KPMG Singapore has called on Singapore to fortify its position as Asia’s premier regional hub for businesses and wealth management.

In a recent budget proposal collaboration with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the firm stressed aligning tax incentives with global standards, fostering regional innovation and digitisation, and championing sustainability to secure a competitive edge.

Ajay Kumar Sanganeria, Partner and Head of Tax at KPMG Singapore, addressed these critical aspects during a recent episode of KPMG’s SG Budget 2024 Insights.

Mr Sanganeria urged Singapore to recalibrate its tax incentives to meet global benchmarks while ensuring that investor interest remains intact. This strategic move would align Singapore’s fiscal policies with the evolving international economic landscape.

He also called for Singapore to be more prominent in regional innovation and digitisation. The suggestion is to position the city-state as a data innovation hub, fostering public-private partnerships and leveraging collaborative efforts to drive technological advancements across industries.

“Digitalisation and sustainability are two key areas where Singapore enterprises can gain a competitive advantage,” Mr Sanganeria said, “With digitalisation, companies can reshape operational landscapes, increase productivity, and deliver superior customer experience.”

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The call for sustainability also emphasized Singapore’s potential to export green energy and infrastructure solutions. Climate financing and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives were identified as key mechanisms for Singapore to contribute to global climate change mitigation efforts.

However, Mr Sanganeria acknowledged Singapore’s challenges, including elevated borrowing costs, sticky inflation, and economic uncertainties stemming from geopolitical tensions. Additionally, he raised concerns about manpower constraints, indicating a weakened business outlook.

“It is definitely essential for Singapore to equip its enterprises with capabilities to tackle immediate challenges while maintaining robust fiscal policies,” he said, emphasizing the need for a strategic response to these challenges.

As Singapore navigates through these complexities, the strategic recommendations by KPMG highlight a forward-looking approach that emphasizes economic resilience and sustainable and digitized growth.

In a rapidly evolving global landscape, the call to action is clear: for Singapore to cement its leadership role in the region, adaptation and innovation are imperative.