Budget 2016 to focus on economy and help firms restructure for future: Heng Swee Keat

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the Budget will  focus on helping companies with their "restructuring journey".
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the Budget will focus on helping companies with their "restructuring journey".PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Local businesses need to restructure, innovate, and find new markets in order to stay competitive and cope with changes in technology, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday (March 5).

And while the Budget will include some measures to help small businesses meet the immediate challenges, it will, more importantly, focus on helping companies with their "restructuring journey", said Mr Heng.

This includes finding new ways of doing things, and looking for growth opportunities overseas.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a visit to Pan Asia Logistics Singapore in Tuas, Mr Heng noted that the upcoming Budget is the Government's first for the new term.

 
 

This means that its surpluses have been locked up as "past reserves" after its previous term ended.

"We have to be particularly prudent, so that we have resources when we need to act later," said Mr Heng.

He was also pointed out that Singapore is experiencing a slowdown in growth, but not a recession.

The forecast for growth this year remains at 1 to 3 per cent.

One of the Government's focuses is to manage the slower growth environment, and provide measures that are useful across all sectors.

While the Government will continue to have some social measures targeted at building a society that allows individuals to thrive, there will be a strong focus on the economy, both for the short term and medium term, Mr Heng added.

"There are significant changes in the global and regional economies that we cannot avoid. The more ready we are to respond, the better we will be," he added.