MPs speak out for SMEs
Several MPs have spoken out on behalf of Small-Medium Enterprises or SMEs during debate on the Budget.
MP for Choa Chu Kang GRC, Zaqy Mohamad says he's confident that schemes to help SMEs will bring about stronger productivity improvements.
But he's concerned that smaller firms might fall through the gaps.
"There are also concerns of whether the PIC and PIC+ assumes a one-size-fits-all strategy and that the government needs a different approach for the small-sized SMEs, especially those with 10 or less employees the small-sized SMEs may prove to be an insulated group - and this will span of about one-third of SMEs in Singapore."
Nominated MP, R Dhinakaran, says he's disappointed that the budget has failed to directly address SMEs' problems such as rising costs and cash flows.
"We need to save our businesses and help them cope with these pressures. The business environment is already tight and the outlook is also uncertain. In this respect, businesses need a lot of help. If we don't give them some hope for survival, they will not even look at making productivity improvements for the long-run."
MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, Denise Phua, says SMEs form the backbone of the Singapore economy.
They employ seven in 10 workers, contribute nearly half of national GDP.
She warned that without SMEs, not only will the economy and jobs be at risk; the energy and spirit of entrepreneurship are also at risk of being extinguished.
So, she's asked the government to help SMEs with cost pressures they are facing.
"To me, one specific cost item that needs the touch of the State is clearly business rental. Real estate investment trusts (REITS) launched by institutional landlords and their need to meet the expectations of financial analysts had been adding to the mounting cost pressures of SMEs. Sad will be the day when the only tenants that can afford retail space are luxury brands and those that can afford good office space are non-SME tenants."
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