Soaring costs, uncertain global demand key business concerns: ICPAS pre-Budget poll

Grants to cope with soaring business costs, more support to reduce rental costs and adjusting manpower policies on foreign workers are top wish-list items for this year's Budget, according to a survey by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS).

The study was done by ICPAS Research in November last year. It attracted 575 responses from the accounting and business community, comprising professional accountants, chief financial officers, public accountants and those in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

ICPAS president Ernest Kan said: "The survey findings highlighted the top three business concerns for 2013. These are rising business costs, uncertain global demand and increasing regulation."

Rising business costs, especially rents, emerged as the chief concern for businesses, with 60 per cent worrying that high business costs could be a major challenge even as businesses brace themselves for slower growth ahead.

Respondents hope the Government can aid in managing rising business costs, with - 60 per cent indicating that cash grants to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would be beneficial.

A total of 81 per cent called for measures to reduce or offset rental cost as their top wish list item for companies in the upcoming Budget.

Many suggested that the Government refine foreign worker policies to allow greater differentiation to meet the unique needs of the various industries.

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