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SBF Supports Budget 2021 for Stronger Post-COVID Economic Growth

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 [Singapore] – With businesses facing an uneven path towards recovery, the Emerging Stronger Together Budget 2021 takes a balanced approach to address the concerns of our businesses and workers in the immediate term. The Budget also spurs Singapore’s economic growth as new opportunities emerge both locally and globally.

Providing Targeted Support for Businesses in Hardest Hit Sectors
Budget 2021 provides targeted support for sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. Businesses in the aviation, aerospace, and tourism sectors continue to face substantial headwinds due to travel curbs and ongoing cross border restrictions. The extension of the Jobs Support Scheme for these sectors for a further six months is a welcome relief for businesses. This measured approach enables businesses to preserve core capabilities critical for recovery and future growth.

Seizing New Market Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered companies’ internationalisation plans. The extension of heightened support under the Market Readiness Assistance will continue to encourage businesses to embark on new overseas ventures.

Likewise, the enhancement to the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) helps businesses by catalysing cross-border collaborations between Singapore and major global innovation hubs. With GIA set to expand to over 25 cities over the next five years, this will help businesses move into new markets and expand their global presence.

To help businesses internationalise, [email protected] will continue to provide services such as advisory, market information, business matching, capability development and in-market facilitation.

Enabling Technology for Business Transformation
The new Emerging Technology Programme will help companies kickstart or accelerate their adoption of technology to drive process and product innovation. SBF encourages businesses to deepen innovation by leveraging the programme to adopt frontier technologies.

For businesses that require more assistance to digitalise and adopt technological solutions, they can tap on the CTO-as-a-Service initiative to gain access to professional IT consultancies. This will help companies in their digitalisation journey and to develop new digital capabilities.

Building an Inclusive and Resilient Workforce
The extension of the hiring window under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) will encourage more companies in sectors that are growing to bring forward hiring plans, especially for mature workers. The additional support under JGI, where up to 18 months of wage support will be accorded to mature workers, ex-offenders, and workers with disabilities, will also help create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

As the programme manager for both the SGUnited Traineeships and the Mid-Career Pathways Programmes, SBF welcomes the extended support for these programmes. This will help more fresh graduates and mid-career individuals gain new skills and experiences.

Mr Lim Ming Yan, SBF Chairman said, “Budget 2021 is pivotal in positioning Singapore for economic recovery. The Budget strikes a balance between providing targeted support for sectors that continue to face strong headwinds, while emphasising the need for companies to scale up and emerge stronger post COVID-19. We hope businesses can optimise the benefits of the full suite of business support measures to stay competitive and relevant in the new business landscape. SBF will continue to engage our members and fellow Trade Associations and Chambers to leverage the wide range of schemes and initiatives, maximise their business potential and seize new opportunities in the post-COVID economy.”

Mr Lam Yi Young, SBF CEO said, “Economic recovery remains uneven for businesses across different sectors. We appreciate the Government’s targeted extension of the Jobs Support Scheme for sectors worst hit by the pandemic, which will help them to preserve core capabilities. The new Budget measures, like the Emerging Technology Programme and Digital Leaders Programme, further strengthen the suite of measures that companies can tap on to increase their competitiveness and position for growth post-COVID. We urge companies to make good use of the full suite of measures. SBF will continue to work with and support companies on their transformation and growth journey.”

Mr Kurt Wee, Chairman, SBF SME Committee (SMEC) said, “The SBF SMEC applauds the Government’s continued support for businesses, especially in areas of digitalisation and transformation. The extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive, SGUnited Traineeships and the Mid-Career Pathways Programmes will further stimulate job hires for Singaporeans in the immediate term. We will continue to work closely with the Government to support SMEs to build resilience and create more value for their businesses.”

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