ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Local firms clamour for more government assistance as restructuring woes mount

High costs are taking their toll.

The local business community is clamoring for the government to provide more assistance to businesses trying to transit through the Singapore economic restructuring, according to a position paper released by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

The position paper, which was backed by 28 trade associations and chambers and about 70 top-level executives, called for the Singapore government to “take a deep dive to analyse and address cost and manpower issues” as an immediate-term issue. It further outlined a number of recommendations to address the issue.

The first was to identify the drivers behind the steep climb in costs faced by businesses, and to study measures to manage them. SBF expressed that it is important to keep an eye cost to ensure that Singapore does not price itself out of the global market.

The second recommendation was to work with SBF and the Trade Associations & Chambers to review the manpower-lean policy as businesses need time to adjust, and to refine foreign labour policies in different sectors. This way, Singapore remains an attractive option for overseas talent while still holding some leverage for being discerning in selection.

The last recommendation called for the government to review the current levy system for foreign workers. The paper suggested that the levy quantum be recalibrated to take into consideration latest net inflow of foreign talent in the country. 

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