In a position paper released on 6 January 2016, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) urged the newly elected Singapore Government to act courageously to strengthen Singapore’s landscape for doing business.
“The newly-elected Government has a fresh and strong mandate. There is no better time than now to take bold and decisive moves that will strengthen Singapore’s position now and in the long-term,” said SBF’s Chairman Mr Teo Siong Seng in recommending that the Government should take a “deep dive” to analyse and address cost and manpower issues immediately.
The Federation’s position paper which had the input of 70 business leaders and 28 trade associations and chambers, listed several immediate, mid-term and long-term issues taking a toll on some businesses here. It outlined recommendations for spurring the country’s economic growth and supporting businesses here.
Challenges, both local and global macroeconomic environments including Singapore’s shrinking and aging workforce demography, foreign labour curbs, rising business costs, a global economy which is lacking vitality and rising business costs prompted the paper, said SBF. It added that more has to be done to help local businesses cope with these challenges.
The Federation acknowledged that attracting foreign investment will continue to remain an important development pillar for Singapore but recommended that the Government offer more help for local businesses which are restructuring and want to expand overseas.
“Some of our proposals might appear radical and require substantial changes to existing policies. There are risks involved and our proposals may not fully deliver the desired results. But we have to act decisively or risk greater failure in the years ahead,” SBF’s Chairman cautioned.
Reacting to the news of SBF’s position paper on social media one commenter, Lee Kee Seng said, “The big unsaid problem is property prices. Government have subsidized home purchases from hdb, which effectively propped up the unrealistic property prices. Businesses are struggling with this but businessmen refuse to acknowledge it because many of them are big property owners themselves. Blaming the manpower issue is just getting workers to foot the bill of Singapore’s competitiveness.”
“Years of liberal foreign worker imports have led to the neglect of training and development of our citizens, from sports to all industries,” he added.
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