More steps need to be taken to help local businesses cope with a more challenging environment, as firms grapple with issues like rising costs, a shrinking workforce and foreign manpower curbs, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) said.
In a “position paper” released on Wednesday (Jan 6), the SBF called on the Government to help companies cope with restructuring in the immediate term, while helping to build Singapore as a home base for companies expanding overseas in the long term.
SBF said the paper was prompted by the challenging internal and external macroeconomic environment – where rising business costs, ageing demographics, and a lacklustre global economic outlook are taking their toll on some businesses.
A host of recommendations aimed at supporting businesses and Singapore’s economic growth is outlined in the paper.
In the immediate term, the paper recommended that the Government takes a “deep dive” to analyse and address cost and manpower issues.
In the long term, it said that while attracting foreign investment will continue to remain as an important development pillar for Singapore, creating an external economy will enable businesses to overcome land and labour constraints.
"Some of our proposals might appear radical and require substantial changes to existing policies. There are risks involved and our proposals may not fully deliver the desired results. But we have to act decisively or risk greater failure in the years ahead," said SBF chairman S S Teo.
“The newly-elected Government has a fresh and strong mandate. There is no better time than now to take bold and decisive moves that will strengthen Singapore’s position now and in the long-term,” he added.
About 70 business leaders and 28 trade associations and chambers contributed their ideas to the paper, SBF said.