ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Half of Singapore businesses are gloomy over 2016 prospects, says survey

Time to relook current productivity schemes, businesses urge.

The global economic uncertainty, climbing cost pressures and tight foreign labour policies have made half of Singapore businesses pessimistic about their prospects in 2016, according to KPMG’s pre-Budget 2016 poll.

The survey, which involves 106 Singapore companies that range from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to foreign multinational companies (MNCs), also reveals that Singapore businesses are recognising the need for increased focus in value creation and innovation to develop Singapore brands.

Over 8 in 10 (87%) ranked innovation and value creation within the top three areas of importance in business growth over the next five years. However, these businesses are of the belief that it is time for the government to revisit current productivity policies—more than 5 in 10 (51%) suggest that existing schemes be calibrated to better meet the unique needs of businesses in different stages of growth. 

Moreover, while about 6 in 10 (60%) stated that the government’s focus on boosting productivity has benefited their businesses, over 8 in 10 (81%) stated there was was insufficient recognition and support for value-creation activities. Majority of local SMEs echoed with this sentiment, with 85% expressing their agreement.

Further, almost half of all respondents were in favour of more flexibility and greater incentives to spur value-creating activities like internationalisation, brand building, and innovation.

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