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Singapore Budget 2014: Talent development and restructuring remain key challenges

Talent development is a key challenge in Singapore's a bid to remain globally competitive, Member of Parliament Jessica Tan said as she opened on Monday the debate on this year's Budget.

Ms Tan, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, said Singapore needs to prepare students for jobs that might not exist now, but will be key pillars of the economy in the future, and she asked how that would be done.

The Budget's continued focus on restructuring and encouraging companies to invest in moving up the value chain is a signal to firms that they need to take advantage of the opportunities available.

She said the extension of the popular Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme in the Budget is an acknowledgment of the fact that restructuring takes time.

However, companies need to invest more in research and development and acquiring intellectual property. They also need to venture abroad.

She expressed concern that a survey by DP Info showed that only 46 per cent of companies had an overseas presence in 2012, compared with 56 per cent the year before.

That shows companies "are not taking advanatge of the opportunities available", said Ms Tan.