Singapore Markets open in 4 hrs 47 mins

55% of Singapore firms want tax rate cut and rebates in Budget 2020: SBF survey

Singapore's city skyline is seen as visitors take photographs from the rooftop bar of the National Gallery on January 13, 2020. (PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE –  More than half of companies are hoping for tax relief in the upcoming Singapore Budget amid a sluggish economic climate, said the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

About 55 per cent of both large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rank tax rate reduction and rebates as the top two priorities for the Budget, according to the SBF's annual National Business Survey released Tuesday (14 January).

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is scheduled to deliver Singapore’s 2020 Budget Statement on 18 February.

In his New Year 2020 message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the global economic slowdown has affected Singapore despite the country having avoided a recession this year.

"Budget requests this year are very much back to basics and reflect current needs of businesses," the SBF said.

In other areas that respondents are hoping for more support, about 49 per cent of them want easier access to information and resources from government agencies, 47 per cent want incentives for industry-related training and 47 per cent want incentives for corporate ventures.

Sentiment about Singapore’s economic outlook continues to decline, with almost half of all businesses expecting 2020 to be a more challenging year than 2019.

While more Singapore companies embraced transformation and internationalisation last year, sentiment remained soft over economic uncertainties amid the US-China trade dispute, the survey said.

More than 1,000 companies took part in the survey, which was conducted from 26 August to 25 October last year. About 87 per cent of the respondents are SMEs and the remainder are large companies with annual sales of over S$100 million or employ over 200 people.

(Source:SBF National Business Survey 2019/2020)

Three top challenges

For businesses, the three top challenges this year are manpower costs (67 per cent), business competition (62 per cent) and finding new or better ways to grow revenue (56 per cent).

The SBF noted that manpower issues continue to adversely affect businesses. Many of them are struggling with rising labour costs due to tighter government policies on hiring foreigners and stiff competition to secure the best local talent. Four in 10 businesses said they face challenges in attracting or retaining younger workers.

To reduce the dependence on new hires or training, 19 per cent of companies said they are turning to automation and technology.

Despite the challenging economic environment, Singapore businesses continue to expand overseas.

Eight in 10 businesses have an overseas presence, according to the survey. The proportion of SMEs with international operations rose to 78 per cent in 2019 from 68 per cent in 2018. About 93 per cent of large companies have expanded overseas last year, compared with 90 per cent in 2018. 

It is critical for companies in Singapore to expand overseas in order to sustain their growth given the small domestic market, said SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng.

"It is encouraging that our SMEs are extending their global footprints more aggressively despite the economic uncertainty that shrouded 2019," Teo said. “The growing e-commerce and digital economy provide our businesses with new opportunities as they can expand into new markets with little to no physical presence.”

Related stories:

Heng Swee Keat to deliver Budget 2020 statement on 18 Feb

Singapore economy still growing but less vigorously: PM Lee Hsien Loong

  • Alphabet CEO backs temporary ban on facial-recognition technology over misuse worry
    Finance
    Reuters

    Alphabet CEO backs temporary ban on facial-recognition technology over misuse worry

    The chief executive of Google parent company Alphabet on Monday backed an EU proposal to temporarily ban facial-recognition technology because of the possibility that it could be used for nefarious purposes. "I think it is important that governments and regulations tackle it sooner rather than

  • China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei's Meng as extradition trial set to kick off
    Finance
    Reuters

    China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei's Meng as extradition trial set to kick off

    VANCOUVER/TORONTO (Reuters) - China on Monday repeated its call for Canada to release Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, ahead of her expected arrival in a Vancouver courtroom for the start of a trial to decide whether she can be extradited to the United States. The United States has charged

  • Malaysia open to Davos talks with India amid palm oil spat
    Finance
    Reuters

    Malaysia open to Davos talks with India amid palm oil spat

    Malaysia's trade minister is open to meeting his Indian counterpart at the World Economic Forum gathering this week, his ministry said on Monday, after New Delhi said no such encounter was possible amid a spat over palm oil supplies. It was the second time in the last four days Malaysia expressed

  • Exclusive: New Indian law to protect foreign investors to exclude tax demands - documents
    Finance
    Reuters

    Exclusive: New Indian law to protect foreign investors to exclude tax demands - documents

    New legislation will improve protection for foreign investors in India by offering relief from possible policy changes but will uphold the state's right to tax them, according to its draft and government documents seen by Reuters. The bill also attempts to upgrade India's investment climate

  • No turning point in sight as IMF predicts sluggish global growth
    News
    Reuters

    No turning point in sight as IMF predicts sluggish global growth

    WASHINGTON/DAVOS (Reuters) - Global growth appears to have bottomed out but there is no rebound in sight and risks ranging from trade tensions to climate shocks makes the outlook uncertain, a top International Monetary Fund official said on Monday. For 2020 and 2021, the IMF trimmed back its global

  • EU won't meet China halfway in investment talks - EU trade chief
    Finance
    Reuters

    EU won't meet China halfway in investment talks - EU trade chief

    The European Union wants to agree a deal with China this year to protect foreign investment and increase investment market access, but it will not meet Beijing halfway, EU trade chief Phil Hogan said on Monday. Hogan told a conference held by business lobby group BusinessEurope that the EU wanted to

  • Britain to set out goals for trade talks with EU - PM Johnson's spokesman
    Finance
    Reuters

    Britain to set out goals for trade talks with EU - PM Johnson's spokesman

    Britain will publicly set out its goals for its future partnership with the European Union, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, in a speech expected to take place early next month. "We will set out in public what we want to achieve," the spokesman said in response

  • Apple's Cook says global corporate tax system must be overhauled
    Finance
    Reuters

    Apple's Cook says global corporate tax system must be overhauled

    Everyone knows that the global corporate tax system needs to be overhauled, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Monday, backing changes to global rules that are currently under consideration. The growth of internet giants such as Apple has pushed international tax rules to the limit, prompting the

  • ECB lending rules must cover climate risk, Villeroy says
    Finance
    Reuters

    ECB lending rules must cover climate risk, Villeroy says

    The European Central Bank should build climate risk into its lending rules and economic models rather than just gobble up green bonds in its multi-trillion-euro purchase scheme, French central bank Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Monday. ECB President Christine Lagarde will begin a one-year

  • Central banks can't save the world from climate change, BIS says
    Finance
    Reuters

    Central banks can't save the world from climate change, BIS says

    BASEL/LONDON (Reuters) - Central banks can't be expected to save the world from climate change, a new book by the Bank for International Settlement said on Monday, urging instead global co-ordination ranging from government policy to financial regulation. The book, titled "the Green Swan"

  • Markets regulators struggling to keep up with technology - SEC's Jackson
    Finance
    Reuters

    Markets regulators struggling to keep up with technology - SEC's Jackson

    The rapid growth of digital assets and computer-driven investment advice has become a key challenge for regulators in trying to keep up with technological advances while seeking to protect investors, a U.S. markets regulator said on Monday. Robert Jackson, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange

  • Boeing customer Air Lease says 'damaged' MAX brand should be dropped
    Finance
    Reuters

    Boeing customer Air Lease says 'damaged' MAX brand should be dropped

    The chairman of major aircraft leasing firm Air Lease, which has 150 of Boeing's grounded 737 MAX jet on order, on Monday called on the U.S. manufacturer to drop the "damaged" MAX brand to avoid it undermining the plane's value. The comments by Steven Udvar-Hazy, one of the founders

  • Davos 2020: Trump's phase one trade deal with China leaves one major question unanswered
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Davos 2020: Trump's phase one trade deal with China leaves one major question unanswered

    The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is here. Yahoo Finance speaks with World Economic Forum President Borge Brende about one key question on the minds of business leaders.

  • The prized heritage collection in prime CBD launches for sale
    Finance
    iCompareLoan.com

    The prized heritage collection in prime CBD launches for sale

    Savills Singapore, as the exclusive marketing agent, said that it is proud to offer for sale The Heritage Collection, a rare and tightly held portfolio of coveted conservation graded properties strategically located within the heart of Chinatown, Central Business District The Heritage Collection consists

  • Japan, U.S. lead survey's corporate climate change action 'A List'
    Finance
    Reuters

    Japan, U.S. lead survey's corporate climate change action 'A List'

    BT , Danone , Microsoft and Sony are among 178 companies with top marks in the latest global ranking of transparency and action on climate change. Japan and the U.S. were the countries with the headquarters of the most 'A List' companies individually, while regionally, Europe as a bloc was

  • Pakistan to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat to meet flour crises
    Finance
    Reuters

    Pakistan to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat to meet flour crises

    Pakistan on Monday approved the import of 300,000 tonnes of wheat to relieve a shortage of flour supplies that has created a crisis for the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Prices of flour and bread shot up last week as the ingredient disappeared from shops and wholesale markets, while bread

  • India's thermal coal imports extend fall as economy slows
    Finance
    Reuters

    India's thermal coal imports extend fall as economy slows

    India's thermal coal imports have dropped for three months running, their longest sustained fall in over two years, as an economic slowdown stifles demand from key industrial consumers. "A demand downfall across sectors has had a downward cascading effect on everything including coal imports

  • How To Save Half The Cost When Renewing Your Maid’s Contract
    Finance
    SingSaver

    How To Save Half The Cost When Renewing Your Maid’s Contract

    If you were a maid-hiring newbie when you hired your first maid, you would have probably done so through a maid agency. Maid agencies are not cheap, but they do take care of all the paperwork for you, including buying maid insurance so that you have the […]The post How To Save Half The Cost When Renewing

  • China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng
    News
    Reuters

    China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng

    China repeated its call on Monday for Canada to release detained Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as soon as possible, ahead of the executive's first extradition hearing later in the day. "The resolve of the Chinese government to protect Chinese citizens'

  • Climate change pushes investors to take their temperature
    Finance
    Reuters

    Climate change pushes investors to take their temperature

    Move over revenue growth and dividend payouts: it's time to take your portfolio's temperature. Policymakers are pushing investors to do more to ensure their portfolio choices help to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change by limiting planetary warming to well below 2 degrees

  • Refined palm oil cargoes stuck at Indian ports after import curbs - sources
    Finance
    Reuters

    Refined palm oil cargoes stuck at Indian ports after import curbs - sources

    KUALA LUMPUR/MUMBAI (Reuters) - Thousands of tonnes of refined palm oil are delayed or stuck at various Indian ports after the world's biggest edible oil buyer placed restrictions on imports amid a diplomatic row with key supplier Malaysia, multiple sources told Reuters. India announced the curbs

  • Middle East share of India's oil imports falls to four-year-low in 2019 - tanker data
    Finance
    Reuters

    Middle East share of India's oil imports falls to four-year-low in 2019 - tanker data

    India's imports of Middle Eastern oil plunged to a four-year low in 2019, tanker data obtained from sources shows, as the energy-hungry nation diversifies its supplies to cut costs and help shield itself from geopolitical tensions. India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, imports about

  • UBS faces uphill battle to regain ground after HK IPO ban lifted
    Finance
    Reuters

    UBS faces uphill battle to regain ground after HK IPO ban lifted

    UBS Group AG is likely to have a hard time regaining ground lost in the 10 months it was banned from the big-money business of sponsoring IPOs in Hong Kong, where Chinese rivals have become formidable players, bankers and analysts said. The Swiss bank's unprecedented year-long ban ended two months

  • Samsung says may invest $500 million to set up display factory in India
    Finance
    Reuters

    Samsung says may invest $500 million to set up display factory in India

    SEOUL/BANGALORE (Reuters) - South Korean flat screen maker Samsung Display plans to set up a factory in India with a $500 million investment as parent Samsung Electronics Co Ltd seeks to expand smartphone production there, a regulatory filing showed. The move would be a boon for India which is vying

  • Survey: Capitalism 'doing more harm than good,' and technology is 'out of control'
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Survey: Capitalism 'doing more harm than good,' and technology is 'out of control'

    Most people believe that modern day capitalism "does more harm than good in the world," according to a new survey timed to the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos.