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Govt to help firms get more support

This article is more than 12 months old

Trade and Industry Minister says help schemes will be more 'company-centric, not scheme-centric'

Companies may no longer need to approach government agencies separately for specific grants but instead can deal with a single point of contact for support on business plans, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

"We are going to make our help schemes company-centric, not scheme-centric," he said at a Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) conference.

Rather than telling agencies which schemes they want to adopt, companies could go to them with a business plan instead and leave it to officials to find out what will help the most, said Mr Chan.

The authorities have been working with the trade associations and chambers to deliver this better. It is also among the latest commitments made to support businesses ahead of upcoming policy changes and slowing economic growth.

The second quarter growth came in at just 0.1 per cent from a year ago, fuelling fears of a possible technical recession as global trade tensions squeeze open economies such as Singapore's.

Companies are gearing up for increasing costs on account of local policy changes, with a rise in retirement and re-employment ages on the horizon, on top of an upcoming hike in older workers' Central Provident Fund contribution rates.

In a Facebook post early yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said ministers from the Finance Ministry will continue to "actively engage businesses, unions and other stakeholders" and develop a support package to help firms with the transition.


Yesterday, Mr Chan said the Government is tweaking the way it will support companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the face of short-term challenges and longer-term developments.

This comes as more businesses are expecting a drop in their revenue and profit margin, amid slowing economic growth and an ongoing trade war.

Close to 40 per cent of over 970 companies polled by the SCCCI expected a fall in revenue, up from around 27 per cent in its annual business survey last year, said the group's president Roland Ng at its annual SME conference where Mr Chan spoke. Of those surveyed, 95 per cent were SMEs.