Budget 2013: What businesses can expect from the Budget

TODAY's Budget will likely hold some goodies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) but they will likely come with strings attached.

Experts say the Government will probably hand out more assistance to help SMEs cope with a tough business environment but bosses will have to show that they are making efforts to become more productive.

Those still hoping for a loosening of foreign worker policies will most likely be disappointed, they add.

"What SMEs want most is workers, but they know they won't get it," said Mr Chan Chong Beng, the president of the Association of SMEs (ASME).

"In fact, I think they are prepared for a further tightening of the foreign manpower policies."

Dr Ernest Kan, the president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (Icpas), is slightly more optimistic.

He does not believe that the Government will relax foreign worker quotas or lower their levies, but he thinks the regime could be made more flexible.

"At Icpas we did a survey recently and found that companies do agree with the general policy direction, but they want the Government to have a more segmented approach, as different sub-sectors have different requirements," he said.

"This will be hard to do, and of course the sub-sectors which get stricter quotas will be unhappy and feel discriminated against. But there is a need."

For more news and analysis on Singapore Budget 2013, click here for ST's Big Story coverage.