As small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are struggling with high costs and a tightening labour market, the SME Committee has made a list of 33 recommendations that it hopes the Government will include in the upcoming annual Budget.
The recommendations encompass five areas: the cost of doing business, manpower and productivity, financing, internationalisation and market access and innovation.
To help SMEs manage the rising cost of doing business, the SME Committee, which is led by the Singapore Business Federation, has suggested, for example, that the Government delay further increases in foreign worker levies and provide an ample supply if affordable and generic no-frills industrial facilities for SMEs.
In the area of manpower and productivity, the committee recommended that the Government help businesses to actively employ locals and widen existing Government schemes to encourage more SMEs to adopt productivity programmes.
Among other recommendations, the committee also suggested a Working Capital Loan Scheme that could provide SMEs with loans of up to $5 million, and said that the Government could review some of its procurement requirements to allow more SMEs to participate in their tenders.
The SME Committee sent these recommendations to the Government in December. Speaking at a media briefing to unveil the list this morning, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck, said the Government is still reviewing the suggestions but has already found some of them to be practical and helpful for SMEs.