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How Budget 2017 will impact Singapore businesses and workers

Nurdianah Md Nur | Feb. 21, 2017
[Updated] Experts from Ernst & Young Advisory, Cloudera, Nutanix, KPMG, Trend Micro, Ixia, Qoo10, SAP, AVADO, Adobe, Aviva and Telstra comment on the republic’s initiatives to enable an innovative and connected economy.

[Updated on 14 March 2017 to include comments from Nutanix, Trend Micro, Ixia, Qoo10, SAP, AVADO, Adobe and Aviva]

Singapore landmark
Singapore's skyline. Credit: GraphicStock

Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled plans to enable an innovative and connected economy for the country in his Budget speech on 20 February 2017.

To ensure that Singapore is well-prepared for the future economy, the government will focus its efforts on strengthening the digital capabilities of enterprises, and deepening workers' capabilities. These initiatives hope to bring "quality growth of 2 to 3 percent" to the republic.

Experts from Ernst & Young Advisory, Cloudera, Nutanix, KPMG, Trend Micro, Ixia, Qoo10, SAP, AVADO, Adobe and Telstra provided their opinions on the initiatives.


Strengthening  SMEs' digital capabilities

Chia Seng Chye, Partner, Tax Services, Ernst & Young Solutions, lauded the government's efforts to help SMEs build digital capabilities. "The SME Go Digital Programme is a positive action response and recognition by the government of the importance of our SMEs to embrace, adapt and grow digital capabilities now rather than later," he claimed.

Daniel Ng, Senior Director, Asia Pacific, Cloudera, added: "The SME Go Digital programme, helps nudge local businesses in the right direction towards gaining this competitive advantage. With the right resources and expertise, SMEs can start small, but experience big gains from honing their digital capabilities. With SMEs making up such a big part of our business community in Singapore, this is a step in the right direction to a more intelligent, future economy." 

Similarly, Pun Kok (PK) Lim, Managing Director of Nutanix ASEAN, said: "SMEs often lack the technical and financial resources to grow their businesses. For certain businesses, this [programme] will make them more productive and hence more profitable; for others, it will mean technology, resources and education focused on growth domestically and/or internationally." 

Agreeing with the above-mentioned experts, Larry Sim, Tax Partner at KPMG in Singapore, said: "As we live in an increasingly globalised world, the creative employment of technology is necessary for Singapore to retain its competitiveness as a cutting-edge economy. SMEs can use these incentives [such as the Go Digital programme] to harness the digital space, which will spur value creation and support Singapore's position as a global hub."

Meanwhile, David Siah, Country Manager, Singapore, Trend Micro, highlighted that the programme can specifically help SMEs strengthen their cybersecurity. "To certain degree, SMEs are more prone to cybersecurity issues than their corporate counterparts. Aside from limited resources, SMEs often don't have extensive knowledge about cybersecurity and are unsure of what cybersecurity defences to put in place. We hope that the new programme will deepen SMEs knowledge about cybersecurity, and inspire them to act to protect their systems, assets, and intellectual property."


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