Singapore, 17 February 2021 – The Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) commends
the Government for the continued strong business support measures announced in the Singapore
Budget 2021. Reflecting the situation on the ground, the measures demonstrate a commitment to
provide businesses with the relevant assistance required for continued development within the
current economic climate, especially in the areas of technology and digital transformation.
Supporting jobs and costs in this trying period
Since last year, the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) has been crucial in helping many businesses manage costs and support jobs. With extended support till the second half of the year, the JSS is expected to be greatly beneficial for businesses within the most affected sectors of Tier 1 (Aviation, Aerospace and Tourism) and Tier 2 (Retail, Arts and Culture, Food Services and Built Environment). As part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, the extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive, as well as the SGUnited Skills, SGUnited Traineeships and the Mid-Career Pathways programmes, will also collectively help to stimulate job hires in the employment scene, whilst deepening the capabilities and skills of local talents via training.
Future-proofing our business ecosystem
Amidst the pandemic, digitalisation and transformation has become more important than ever for businesses. The co-funding of frontier technologies (5G, artificial intelligence and trust technologies) through the new Emerging Technology Programme serves a critical purpose in ensuring that our economy, financial systems and local businesses will sit on future-proof technology infrastructures, allowing Singapore companies to lead competitively as a key node in and out of Asia. Along with the extended Enhanced Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) and Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), businesses will be able to leverage these schemes to keep up with the rapid acceleration of digital transformation in today’s climate.
For high-growth enterprises, the extension and enhancement of the Enterprise Financing Scheme - Venture Debt Programme from S$5 million to S$8 million will also be meaningful in helping companies fund their growth and development in the midst of economic recovery.
Enhancing international connectivity
With regard to international connectivity, the slew of technological and market alliances announced have incited a revival of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle. The strong emphasis on further common frameworks such as Payment Frameworks, will be critical in fusing ASEAN as a more competitive and cohesive single trade bloc, and ASME hopes that such initiatives can be realised in 2021. Whilst ASME is aware of the strong trade relations and multibilateral economic collaborations between Singapore and China, we also look forward to the setting up of more frameworks between Singapore and China, as China is a very important market for Singapore businesses.
Mr Kurt Wee, President of ASME, said, “The move to impose a goods and services tax (GST) on imported low-value goods and services was recommended by ASME a few years ago, and we are glad that this has been announced for Budget 2021. Against foreign online retailers who do not have to charge GST, local companies have been put at a disadvantage for many years. This initiative will help to level the playing field for Singapore businesses and may even be better for our retailers if it could be implemented earlier than 2023.”
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Executive, Corporate Communications
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ASSOCIATION OF SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (ASME)
The Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1986 for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. With wide-ranging services and programmes, ASME strives to equip member SMEs with the business knowledge and market opportunities to help them grow their businesses.
ASME, as the champion of a pro-enterprise Singapore, bridges the public and the private sectors to promote a more conducive business environment which facilitates the start-up, growth and development of a larger pool of SMEs. The two ASME flagship awards – The Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Singapore Prestige Brand Award – are in recognition of SMEs’ successes.
ASME will continue to roll out new SME-relevant programmes to enhance its position as THE business association For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs.