What groups say about the measures

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled a raft of measures to better position Singapore for the future, in his Budget 2018 statement on Monday. Here is a round-up of reactions from various groups:

Singapore Manufacturing Federation

President Douglas Foo said schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant, which offers up to 70 per cent funding for productivity solutions, and the tax deduction for intellectual property registration fee will boost innovation in industry. The Partnerships for Capability Transformation scheme can also coax smaller manufacturers to work together, pool resources and scale up.

Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals

Chairman Gerard Ee said the tax savings measures - from across-the-board corporate tax rebates to targeted tax deductions on licensing payments - will "put companies here in good stead to tap innovation and the growth opportunities in 2018 and beyond".

Ride-hailing firm Grab

The company said the increased support for innovation would help companies here to compete with global rivals, for instance, by developing digital innovations that are customised for South-east Asia and investing in capability development.

Women's rights group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware)

The organisation's executive director Corinna Lim said measures such as raising the Proximity Housing Grant for caregivers who live with or near their parents and merging the Agency for Integrated Care with the Pioneer Generation Office could potentially help caregivers. But they "seem to suggest that we must continue to rely on our informal family networks for caregiving, without substantial support from the Government", she added.

Singapore Democratic Party

The party criticised the government moves to increase revenue, such as imposing the goods and services tax on imported services like video streaming, and the carbon tax. It said the "myriad of taxes will further fatten already bloated government coffers" and will lead to businesses passing the added cost to Singaporeans, affecting especially the lower-and middle-income groups.

Singapore Environment Council

Its chairman Isabella Loh said the new carbon tax will benefit the environment, as it will help "Singapore reach its carbon reduction target of 36 per cent".

Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Its president Roland Ng is heartened by the measures to help businesses transform and upgrade via higher productivity and innovation. But businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will be hit by the carbon tax and "will need the Government's grant support to improve their energy efficiency to help mitigate the impact".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'What groups say about the measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe