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What do businesses from various industries want to see in the 2023 budget?

Schneider Electric, Savills, and more share their insights.

With over 500,000 businesses established in Singapore, it is imperative for the government to include measures in the 2023 budget that will protect this segment. 

But what do businesses in Singapore want to see from the budget? Singapore Business Review asked businesses from the energy, real estate, finance, and technology industries.

Jackson Seng, Schneider Electric
Vice President, Sustainability and Strategy

It is crucial that in the coming budget, we will see continuous support for businesses, especially for small and medium enterprises, to help them adopt efficiency and sustainable technology so that they can continue to accelerate the progress towards decarbonisation. Of course, it is not just for the short-term transition. We also need to encourage companies to take a longer view. The support could come in a way, such as incentivising companies to start training and equipping their workforce with relevant skill sets and knowledge. In order to put together a concrete plan and deploy the plan, we will need the workforce to be ready as well.

Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore
Executive Director, Research & Consultancy

I have three wish lists with regard to the property market. The first is the waiver of upfront Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) that upgraders have to pay if they sell their first property within six months of purchase of the second property. Right now, they [upgraders] need to pay the ABSD upfront. After they have shown that they have sold their first property six months later, they will get reimbursed. That is a very hefty upfront, and that is also creating some problems for the rental market since they need to sell and rent. The second will be fixing the 15-month wait-out period for people who need to downgrade from private apartments to private property to HDB flats. They should start doing away with that. Lastly, to allow vacancy allowances for property tax cases. Right now, if your residential property is empty [or] vacant, you still pay property tax as if it is tenanted. They should either reduce the property tax rate or do away with the property tax for vacant units.

Eng Thiam Choon, Tiger Brokers 

As we move into a more digitised world, increased budget allocation for key fintech initiatives would be beneficial for both Singaporeans and the country’s economy in the long run. Singapore has one of the world’s highest digitalisation competitiveness scores — with a growing number of residents enjoying a digitalised investing lifestyle. Particularly for the younger generation, there is a distinct difference in how they invest and what they invest in compared to their peers in other age groups. Hence, democratising access to financial data and information and expanding their investment knowledge pool can best help them make smart and efficient investing decisions, in a way to further promote financial inclusion. These moves will be a huge leap in empowering them towards financial freedom and happiness and eventually ripple through in pushing the country’s economic activities.

Antoine Gross,  IMPACT.COM
General Manager, Southeast Asia & India

In view of the looming recession, we suggest providing supporting measures for businesses to digitalise towards resiliency. Digitisation can provide businesses with a competitive edge and help them stay afloat during difficult economic times – from reducing costs, improving the efficiency of operations, and reaching new customers, to ultimately achieving positive ROI. A case in point is focusing on the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. Funding SaaS through operating expenses can provide more predictable and manageable expenditures, lower upfront costs, and allow businesses to scale their service as needed based on customer demand. Hence, businesses can avoid making a large upfront investment in software and hardware and instead spread the costs out over time — a cost-effective and flexible solution, especially during an economic tumult. 

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