ECONOMY, FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Here are analysts' 4 wishes to Singapore's 2014 Budget

'Inclusive growth' will be key theme.

According to KPMG, Singapore Budget 2014 will likely incorporate many ideas from 2013’s ‘Our Singapore Conversation’, but inclusive growth must contain measures to grow the economy and groom our businesses.

As one of the pillars for future growth, opportunities for innovation remain largely untapped, even as Singapore businesses have begun to embrace increasing productivity.

Mr Tay Hong Beng, Head of Tax, KPMG in Singapore, says: “Beyond productivity, innovation is vital for Singapore’s sustained growth.

With more Singapore businesses seeking growth overseas, capitalising on regional and international opportunities will require a combination of strong local brands, and increasing leadership in innovation.”

KPMG’s 2014 wishlist focuses on how the Government can help Singapore businesses pursue sustainable growth. In all, the four key themes KPMG hopes to see in Budget 2014 this year are: 1) pursuing a pan-Asian strategy; 2) enhancing productivity through innovation; 3) simplifying incentives and regulations; and 4) inclusive growth.

Tay adds: “With the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community on the horizon, efforts to position Singapore as an attractive destination for investment must also continue. Renewed measures to build sound business infrastructure remains critical to positioning Singapore as a competitive location for international business.”

Here's more from KPMG:

I: Pursuing a pan-Asian strategy

Mr Tay says: “To enhance its relevance to global businesses, Singapore needs to reposition itself and pursue a pan-Asian strategy. It urgently needs to review its tax treaty network, benchmark its tax incentives and grants to ensure continued relevance.

Identifying and customising support schemes to entrench and grow specialised industry clusters are important. We hope to see decisive measures introduced in this Budget that help differentiate Singapore from its competitors while presenting unique propositions to global businesses.”

II: Enhancing productivity through innovation

The current drive for productivity improvements has been mostly through process and cost efficiency improvements. For sustainable, long term business performance, business investmentsshould focus on adding new value to companies.

“While process and cost review investments improve the efficiency of inputs, investments in value creation measures help drive demand for a firm’s products and services and in turn improve long-term and international competitiveness,” says Mr Tay.

III. Simplifying incentives and regulations

Boosting Singapore’s international competitiveness continues to remain highly relevant to ensure that Singapore is “top of mind” among investors. With regulatory regimes and business transactions becoming more complex, global and regional businesses appreciate business locations that have less complex business regulations and minimise tax uncertainty.

IV: Inclusive growth

Inclusive growth - to encourage rootedness in individuals, reduce the income gap and recognise new social trends – cannot be neglected.

Mr Tay adds: “In this time and age, it is crucial that we encourage the ‘rootedness’ of Singaporeans. Our suggestions this year include measures both to support the family unit and to encourage individuals to work and excel. We have also included proposals that could form part of the Pioneer Generation Package announced by the Prime Minister at the National Day Rally Speech 2013.”


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