Monday, February 20, 2012

Budget sends sharp, clear message to SMEs

Business Times: Sat, Feb 18
SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) were given a Budget that had a clear message: Shape up by raising productivity, or face the risk of being shipped out.

Using a carrot and stick approach to spur firms to raise efficiency levels, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday announced that the government will double the maximum cash payout to firms that tap into the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme, where firms can now receive a maximum payout of $60,000 for PIC expenditures, compared with $30,000 previously. And instead of receiving the cash payout at the end of each year, they will now receive it on a quarterly basis.

At the same time, the government will reduce the maximum proportion of foreign workers that firms in the manufacturing and services sectors can hire. The construction sector will have a reduced proportion of S Pass foreign workers, lower man-year entitlement (MYE) quotas and higher levies for basic skilled workers hired outside the MYE quotas...

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