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3 Reasons Why Singaporeans Should Be More Supportive of the Government’s Budget 2016 Measures to Help SMEs

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Joanne Poh

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The average Singapore employee labours away for an SME towkay whom he sees as being exploitative, evil and one rung below Satan.

So it’s no surprise that Singaporeans, who were generally supportive of this year’s Budget measures, weren’t as pleased about the plans to help SMEs, which included raising corporate income tax rebates, making it easier for SMEs to get loans with the SME Working Capital Loan scheme and launching more grants and packages. Check out some of the Budget highlights here.

Many Singaporeans have taken umbrage, thinking that if these business are having so much trouble being staying afloat, they should just cease to exist, and that the government has no business handing out money to rich businessmen when old people are collecting cardboard on the streets.

Still, whether you are in favour of the new measures or feel like smashing some windows, there’s no denying that is some good that can come out of the pro-business Budget measures. Here are three reasons the government handing out money to SMEs might benefit regular Singaporeans.

 

If companies do well, less jobs are lost

2016 seems to be all about people getting retrenched, and no matter how much you hate your boss, I think most would agree that being chained to your cubicle is still preferable to dumpster diving in a Geylang alleyway. At least there’s free coffee.

If the Budget measures save some companies from going under, it also means less jobs will be lost. Companies that are able to make use of the grants to do even better, such as by expanding their existing operations, will presumably create jobs for Singaporeans and enhance their existing employees’ career potential.

And for job hopping Singaporeans who hate their current employers, if there are more businesses in good financial shape, they’ll be better able to hire them when they jump ship.

 

Increased chances to gain work exposure overseas

Even Singaporeans who are dying to escape the country stand to benefit if SMEs get enough support to take their business abroad.

One of the government’s key goals for this year’s Budget is to support companies in their efforts to internationalise. The Global Company Partnership scheme, Market Readiness Assistance grant and Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation are just some of the existing initiatives designed to help local companies expand overseas.

The government seems to realise that the local market is just too small and in many industries like retail it’s just way too saturated and competitive.

This is good news for locals who want to go work abroad. Traditionally, many Singaporeans have snagged overseas postings by working at big MNCs and then being sent to other offices abroad. The more local companies internationalise, the more chances there will be for Singaporeans in SMEs to work elsewhere.

 

Better work-life balance and career progression… perhaps

Part of the reason Singaporean SMEs have such a bad reputation when it comes to work-life balance and career progression is that many struggle to cut costs, and the only way they know how is to make every employee work till 10pm every day or hire one employee to do the work of ten.

Lack of career growth is another complaint Singaporeans frequently make, and it’s obvious that an SME that’s not expanding is not going to be able to offer you too many opportunities to rise through the ranks.

It is hoped that the business-friendly initiatives will give SMEs some breathing room so they’re not forced to be so darned understaffed all the times. And these benefits will then trickle down to employees, who’ll presumably be able to enjoy better work-life balance and no longer be working in dead-end jobs.

It may take some time for SME bosses to change their mindsets and be less exploitative, but one thing’s for sure—without some help, a lot of local businesses are simply unable to survive without forcing their employees to do more with less.

What do you think of the Budget 2016 measures pertaining to businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.