ST Budget Roundtable: Gearing up for the future a top priority

SINGAPORE - This year's Budget did not contain any blockbuster handout packages or major game changers. Instead, the focus remained firmly on the future, according to panellists at a roundtable organised by The Straits Times and UOB on Saturday.

Panellists were not surprised that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat stayed the course on economic restructuring and industry transformation in his maiden Budget delivered on Thursday, Mar 24.

While companies hit by the ongoing economic slowdown received some temporary relief, the minister made it clear that the focus remains on gearing up workers and companies for an increasingly uncertain and competitive world, they added.

The roundtable, moderated by deputy business editor Aaron Low, featured four panellists: Mr Jimmy Koh, the head of global economics and markets research at United Overseas Bank; Dr Walter Theseira, senior lecturer at SIM University; Mr Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises; and Mr Desmond Choo, an MP for Tampines GRC and a unionist.

Read more about the roundtable in the Insight pages of The Sunday Times on March 27.

Watch these clips to hear what panellists had to say about the new normal of slower global growth, whether small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) got the help they needed from the Budget, and what else can be done for professionals who get retrenched.