The Minister said that government will encourage linking of SMEs and research institutions and technology companies to develop and promote productivity solutions.
Likewise, under the SME Talent programme, the government will give awards to encourage students to join SMEs when they graduate.
Reacting to the budget proposals, Ethan Wang, research director, banking and investment services, Gartner said: "Personally I feel higher foreign worker levies may have some (maybe minor depends on the details of changes) impacts on technology companies especially those SMEs that hire foreign workers. The tightening labor force might accelerate them to further leverage different financial policies (e.g. the enhanced Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme) and be more cautious in terms of new business investments or growth plans."
Lyon Poh, Partner, Management Consulting, KPMG, feels that the budget provides incentives to groom talent in the area of data analytics. "Data analytics is a buzzword in recent years to describe the use of scientific/statistical algorithms to increase business visibility to the enormous amount of data available on the companies' enterprise systems and Internet/ social media," Poh said. "Under the various IDA national infocomm infrastructure and industry development initiatives, Singapore is already positioning itself to be the preferred data cum analytics hub for regional headquarters of MNCs. As this is a relatively new area, many businesses are generally finding it a challenge to find qualified data analytics professionals who are able to extract good business insights from the data collected. The measures in the Budget to develop 2,500 data analytics professionals, by offering training programmes via IHLs, should help to bridge the skill gap in the data analytics space and to support the growth of this industry."
On balance, says Toh Boon Ngee, Partner, Tax, KPMG Singapore, "this is truly a Singaporean budget, addressing the immediate needs of Singaporeans and SMEs."
"It focuses on narrowing the income gap in the nation, improving productivity and reducing the reliance on the foreign workforce, as well as providing the much-needed support to the elderly and lower income group."
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