Over $500m to help digital transformation of companies
Under new Digital Resilience Bonus, F&B and retail firms could receive up to $10,000 if they make the switch
More than 32,000 people have been infected in Singapore, leaving 23 dead. The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc here and across the globe, and upended all economies.
One irony, though, is that the pandemic has accelerated the drive for digital transformation among businesses.
As part of the $33 billion Fortitude Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed yesterday that more than $500 million will be used to help businesses adapt to new post-coronavirus norms and embrace digital transformation.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said $250 million will be set aside to help businesses in partnerships with platform solution providers and industry champions.
While he did not specify the partnering platforms, Mr Heng sad they will help with the development of offline-to-online business models to access new domestic revenue streams and international demand.
President of the Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore (FMAS) Yeo Hiang Meng says it is the way forward.
Speaking to The New Paper, he said such partnerships are crucial to the seamless integration of digital technology into all areas of business.
Said Mr Yeo: "Pivoting one's business model and embracing digital transformation involves a lot of cost and resources.
"Business owners may not know how to do it smoothly and it requires the expertise of professionals like programmers, analysts and coders... these partnerships can be a game-changer."
Companies are also set to benefit from a new Digital Resilience Bonus.
Under this scheme, companies in the food and beverage (F&B) and retail sector, which are hardest hit by safe distancing measures, could be the first to receive up to $10,000 if they push for digital transformation.
Eligible businesses can receive a payout of up to $5,000 if they adopt PayNow Corporate and e-invoicing, as well as business process or e-commerce solutions.
An additional $5,000 is available for F&B and retail businesses incorporating advanced solutions, said Mr Heng.
Stallholders in hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops and industrial canteens will also receive a bonus of $300 a month over five months for the use of e-payments.
Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee warned that the next few months will be a challenging time for businesses even with the Government's financial help.
He said: "Business owners must persevere because it isn't the availability of financial aid that will pull them through... they must shift their mindsets to focus on online market penetration and developing the capability to do so."
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