Singapore’s Budget 2018
“Singapore’s Budget 2018 is a strategic and integrated plan to position the country for the future. It supports our transformation into a vibrant and innovative economy, and a smart, green and liveable city. It also fosters a caring and cohesive society while ensuring a fiscally sustainable and secure future for Singapore.” Heng Swee Keat, finance minister.
Singapore’s Budget 2018, has been establish according to new technologies and an aging population in a fast-growing Asian economic landscape.
The Finance Minister unveiled last week the Budget 2018 in order to expand Singapore future to an innovative economic growth that is sustainable and inclusive. “Budget 2018 is about laying the foundation for our nation’s development in the next decade,” the minister said at the parliament session on Monday.
In 2018, Singapore will put aside:
- S$12.8 billion for education
- S$20 billion for infrastructure
- S$10.2 billion for healthcare expenditure
S$145 million for the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) programme (to ensure that relevant skillsets are available, as digital technologies are gaining importance in all industry sectors). This programme will be developed to extend people digital skills. It will be expanded into sectors like manufacturing and professional services, where digital technologies are increasingly important. The goal of this new budget is to meet the need of companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, by moving away from competing, based on cost and differentiate through innovation.
The goal of this new budget is to meet the need of companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, by moving away from competing, based on cost and differentiate through innovation.
Innovation and healthcare
Ryan Goh, general manager of Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, considers that Technology is fundamental to help the healthcare sector to deliver a wider range of services, such as personalizing healthcare delivery; deliver better healthcare outcomes… Ryan said: “Any allocation of more expenditure toward healthcare is certainly a positive step.”
In particular the Internet of Things (IoT), can be really critical in the healthcare environment and could help to deliver higher patient care standards. The applications of IoT can allow a reduction of human errors while retaining the human touch with the help of IoT by helping doctors and nurses to deliver quality healthcare that everyone deserves. “As doctors and nurses see hundreds of patients every day, they will be able to leave the laborious, manual tasks to the machines, freeing up their minds and hands to focus on better patient care,” said Goh.
Digitalization and SMEs
With the growing implementation of innovation in companies’ organization and the greater competition, Singapore wants to make innovation pervasive in order that every type of firms embrace innovation, even the SME’s. The goal is to provide businesses with opportunities to use new technologies as a competitive advantage.
The SME owner and the employee need to be convicted that being more innovative will give the company a better chance to compete on a regional and global platform.
Thus, with the use of digitalization, it will simplify day-to-day operations so employee will spend more time on business development rather than operational issues. Indeed, having a dedicated part of the budget for the digitalization of SME’s, allow them to efficiently capture opportunities in and out of Singapore, especially in the manufacturing sector.
From DBS’s experience, SMEs that reap the benefits of digitalization are more productive and enjoy higher growth rates and increased revenues. This is because as they scale their businesses, they can start looking to the region for more growth opportunities. The overall focus of Budget 2018 for businesses is on capturing opportunities in the next decade through industry transformation to anchor Singapore as a global and regional hub for innovation, technology and enterprise.
So, what does that mean for SMEs?
As digital technologies are increasingly transforming Singapore’s economy, developing digital capabilities become a priority. In this context, the SMEs Go Digital Programme has been launched in 2017, and more than 650 SMEs have benefitted. Also, to keep improving productivity and enhance cash flow, the government worked with the Singapore Business Federation for development of a nationwide e-invoicing framework.
Secondly in this innovation context, employees need to get digital skills. Indeed, since the Tech Skills Accelerator (TeSA) was launched in 2016, over 27,000 training places have been taken up. Thus, the government will set aside $145 million for TeSA to expand it into new sectors where digital technologies are increasingly important. This will allow SME’s employees to learn emerging digital skills: data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and cybersecurity.
Finally, “to foster persuasive innovation” said the Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, a new grant to assist SMEs in their digital transformation journey will be introduced: the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). It will come into effect from April 1, 2018 to replace the Production and Innovation Credit (PIC) which will expire this year.
The implementation of the PSG, is to make the process easier for companies. Businesses that wish to undertake productivity solutions will only need to apply for support under one grant scheme. PSG also aims to better support businesses in the next phase of transformation, which may require more substantial investments and longer-term commitments. “For businesses that want simpler solutions for improving productivity, pre-scoped productivity solutions are a tried and tested way to achieve quick results” said the ministry’s Senior Minister of State, Ms Sim Ann.
On the other hand, for larger companies which need help to innovate and internationalise, the Government will offer a new Enterprise Development Grant (EDG). It is one grant for companies to upgrade capabilities, innovate and internationalise. It supports Singapore companies in market and business development, innovation and productivity and core function and capability. This program will provide up to 70 per cent of co-funding for SME’s to build a range of capabilities.
Finally, we can notice a shift in global economic weight to Asia. New markets are about to emerge, with new needs to meet. Changing global patterns of production and consumption, together with new technologies, will bring new opportunities, but also greater competition. Our businesses and workers must differentiate themselves, and continue to venture abroad. The new Singapore’s budget has been established in order to capture future opportunities and adopt longer-term transformation strategies. To do so Singapore’s economy has to adapt in response to the emergence of new technologies, in order that companies keep up, and employees adapt to the skills required by their job.
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