Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Economy

Budget 2013: SMEs at the heart of economic restructuring plan, says DPM Tharman

Small and medium enterprises will get back more than twice what they pay in foreign worker levy increases over the next three years, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam today.

Wrapping up the three-day debate on the Budget 2013, he said that SMEs are at the heart of the measures announced and that there will be no deviating from the path of economic restructuring.

He dismissed suggestions that bigger firms will get a bigger slice of the benefits announced in the Budget, adding that two-thirds of the $5.3 billion three-year transition support package will go towards SMEs.

"If they (SMEs) can't make the transition, we will not achieve quality growth in Singapore. I agree with that," he said.

"We want our SMEs to succeed and not just for economic reasons, not just because they comprise roughly half our GDP. We also want them to succeed because they are part of the lifeblood of our society."