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SBF-led SME Committee to embark on more initiatives over the next two years to boost SME development

[30 May 16] Singapore - The SME Committee (SMEC) today unveiled its work plan for its new term, with new initiatives and areas of focus to enhance the business operating landscape and boost SME development. Established in 2011, SMEC is entering its third term from 1 April 2016 till 31 March 2018. SMEC comprises 60 business leaders and key members from various trade associations and chambers (TACs) serving in the main committee and five sub-committees – Cost of Doing Business, Financing, Innovation, Internationalisation, and Manpower and Productivity.

SMEC’s advisors – Minister of State for Manpower Mr Teo Ser Luck and Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon – will exchange views with SMEC members and discuss how the business community and the Government can better collaborate to build a stronger ecosystem which facilitates growth.

SMEC Work Plan 2016 – 2018

For its third term, SMEC will continue making advocacy a key priority, and work towards introducing more initiatives to address concerns raised by local enterprises. It will spearhead projects in areas such as building SMEs’ human resource capabilities, empowering smaller companies to internationalise and collaborating with the Government to ensure that compliance costs are manageable for businesses.

The Committee’s ongoing efforts in putting forward recommendations for the Singapore Budget annually, enhancing and promoting the Fair Tenancy Framework (FTF) and boosting SME participation in government procurement will continue.

Some specific projects to be undertaken by SMEC impacting enterprise development include:
  • Data collection and information gathering to monitor SMEs’ health in the midst of transformation as well as assess the effectiveness and relevance of government assistance schemes
  • Continuous review of government assistance schemes
  • Enabling more SMEs to participate in government projects through the government procurement framework;
  • Enhancing the FTF for greater relevance to businesses and landlords;
  • Reviewing the impact of over-regulation on compliance costs
  • Submitting a recommendation on instituting a single agency overseeing innovation to encourage and equip more SMEs to participate in research and development;
  • Facilitating the formation of strategic alliances, including partnerships, joint ventures, consortium formation and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among SMEs for internationalisation; and
  • Identifying the types of shared services to aid SMEs’ productivity drive and educating SMEs to leverage these platforms.

Mr S S Teo, Chairman of SBF, said, “SBF has made good progress as a voice of our small businesses over the years. As our SBF-led SME Committee moves into its third term, we are committed to adding more value to the business community, particularly our SMEs, with new initiatives to address specific concerns that they have raised. SMEs form about 70% of SBF’s member companies and they are a key pillar of our Singapore economy. SMEC remains a key platform to advocate SMEs’ issues, boost their development and enhance their capabilities. We look forward to continue working closely with the business community and the Government to support long term business and economic growth for Singapore.”

Mr Lawrence Leow, Chairman of SMEC, said, "Concerns over a slow-down in China, the world's second largest economy, the deepening debt crisis in Europe and the lack of clarity on how the world’s largest economy the United States will fare, have all culminated in the depressed market and subdued investors’ confidence today. Intensifying competition from regional and global players further exacerbate the challenges facing our local enterprises. The SMEC will play an active part in helping local enterprises ride this storm, through the implementation of initiatives targeted at raising their capabilities and enhancing their competitiveness. We will continue to engage the government through dialogues and recommendations to assist our local enterprises so that they remain relevant to the government’s growth strategy and continue to serve as a key pillar of our economy."

Mr Melvin Tan, Vice Chairman of SMEC, said, “Although we see pockets of recovery in a few sectors, general business sentiments remain largely negative due to an expected prolonged period of slow growth, coupled with other factors such as shortage of suitable manpower, rising business costs and increased competition from regional markets. While these challenges presented are not new, they are more pronounced during a period of slow to no growth. Businesses are saying that they require help in certain specific areas. The SMEC has heard the concerns of businesses, and we will not only continue to engage the government in dialogue, but also attempt to take concrete measures to address some of these pressings concerns. This includes taking a closer look at the overall regulatory regime, and to assess the impact this is having on compliance costs.”

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