Give SMEs chance to shine

While the Budget has been lauded for strengthening our social safety nets, some MPs pointed out a neglected group: our small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Nee Soon MP Lee Bee Wah said the SMEs are "disappointed" as they are facing challenges on the tightening of manpower.

"They thought they could get something from this Budget. The only consolation is the (one-year foreign worker) levy deferment," she said in Parliament yesterday.

MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Inderjit Singh suggested to incentivise full use of foreign manpower.

Rather than just imposing a blanket levy, he suggested a complementary foreign levy rebate for companies that employ fewer foreign workers than the average number in the sector.

Dr Lee also lamented the lack of opportunities for these SMEs, and urged the Government to give our local companies a chance to shine.

"I'm glad to note that the Government will be giving greater support and funding SMEs to try out new ideas and venture abroad," she said.

"But we should not put them on a boat with some rations, and then expect them to sail the high seas.

"If our local companies can do it, we don't need to give it to foreign contractors."