The key challenges needed to be overcome in Singapore’s drive to raise productivity

The Business Times, Monday, 25th February 2013

What key challenges and obstacles need to be overcome in Singapore’s drive to raise productivity? What other steps can the Government take and what incentives can it offer to help local firms improve their productivity?

The first challenge would be the change of mindset that is needed. One obvious route is automation but this may be a challenge on two counts. First is the high cost outlay, as SMEs usually do not have fat balance sheets. Currently, the productivity incentives offered by the government do tend to reward expenditure in the form of tax breaks to offset the cost of machinery purchased. Given the small scale and size of these SMEs, they may not want to, or be in a strong financial position to, be spending more money.

While the government does offer productivity incentives and grants, the reality is that many SMEs may not even know they exist. More can be done to increase the awareness. It would also help to simplify the process of applying for these grants as SMEs may not have the staff resources to handle such non-core business functions and tasks.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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