What would you have liked to see in Budget 2022? ST-UOB panellists share their wish lists

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Five of the key points raised during the ST-UOB roundtable – moderated by ST associate editor Vikram Khanna – were the need for businesses to transform, sustainability, the GST increase, options for gig workers and support for SMEs.

SINGAPORE - What would you have liked to see in Budget 2022? Four experts gave their take during a post-Budget discussion on Monday (Feb 21), organised by UOB and The Straits Times.

UOB economist Barnabas Gan:

"What I feel should be addressed more is the issue of structural unemployment, given the fact that Covid-19 has dealt us a blow, in the sense that jobs have been left obsolete and new jobs are created.

"Especially for young to mid-career workers, the bigger question really is how are they going to fit into a new normal in an endemic Covid-19 environment, a new normal going forward in many years to come?

"And while we are comforted that there are policies that will help mid-career workers, what I would hope to see are policies designed to really help these workers be relevant in tomorrow's economy."

Singapore Business Federation chief executive Lam Yi Young:

"I think there are two areas. More help for small- and medium-sized enterprises in terms of cyber security. With greater digitalisation, cyber security is a much bigger problem now.

"Second, is help for small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of intangible assets and intellectual properties. I think that will allow them to better monetise their innovations."

National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Desmond Choo:

"It would be help for younger workers and the Covid-19 generation. The Covid-19 generation is still in the education system, but their lives have been massively changed in two respects.

"What they used to learn might not be relevant because things have accelerated so quickly. And secondly, their aspirations have changed - they have a greater sense of what they think is a purposeful career, what they think resilience is.

"You do see some younger workers are a lot more anxious about their future, both in terms of opportunities that they can now get on board, and also a greater realisation that their skills are going to erode a lot faster."

Deloitte indirect tax and corporate secretarial services lead Richard Mackender:

"What I felt was missing from a personal perspective was more schemes targeting skills and the continued transformation and upskilling of Singapore's workforce, to bring them into new careers and to continue to give them a sense of the future and a sense that there is real opportunity.

"Where they need to go, what they need to do and how technology is going to help them, and where they should be focusing their time to be ready - that bit, I think, probably needs a bit more drawing out from the Budget and maybe in the Committee of Supply (during the debate on each ministry's budget)."

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