Budget that tackles key business

Business Times, Monday, 27 Feb 2012

Does Budget 2012 address the most important issues facing Singapore and its people?  What specific measures do you see as having a particularly significant impact on your industry, and on you personally? ?

ONE hot button issue that Budget 2012 tackles is the hiring of foreign workers.  The government has outlines measures such as a further reduction of foreign workers.  Through the Budget, the government is showing that it is listening to the voice of its people.

However, we should not forget the implications this has on businesses.  Increased costs of labour – be it due to the “forced” hiring of more expensive Singaporeans or higher costs involved in the hiring of foreign workers – will drive up overall business costs and this will ultimately be passed on to the consumer, causing inflation to increase or remain at current high levels.  It appears that the Budget strives to balance this increased cost for corporates with a series of “carrots” to help them boost productivity, such as enhancements to the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme and more training support for SMEs.

One area that perhaps could have been given greater attention is public housing for young families.  In the light of runaway prices in both the HDB resale and private property markets, the government could have done more to help first-timers and newley-weds secure their own homes, given that the new flats are pegged to market prices and are thus high even at a discounted rate.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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