Costs, productivity still top Singapore businesses' concerns ahead of Budget 2014

Although more companies are tapping on government assistance schemes to help them raise their productivity, many are still feeling the pinch of manpower constraints and high business costs, a new survey has found.

The pre-Budget survey conducted by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants found that recent manpower policies that have directly increased business costs - such as raised foreign worker levies or qualifying salaries - have had a greater negative impact on businesses than policies not tied to costs, such as tighter foreign worker quotas.

The online survey received 435 responses from among the institute's members, all either professional accountants in business or public accountants.

Rising business costs, which was cited as their top concern in last year's survey, again topped their list of worries. This year, however, raising productivity was cited as the second most pressing concern, up two notches from last year.

When asked about challenges businesses have faced in using the Government's productivity schemes, the top one cited was that the terms and conditions of these schemes were too restrictive.

Second was an inability to meet the schemes' criteria.

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