Government’s targeted aid for business owners should prioritise Singapore Champions

Year: 2020

Following Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing’s statement on releasing targeted measures for different types of companies to cope in the pandemic, FMG CEO Devadas raises some points for consideration:

“FMG supports the move from broad-based to targeted measures and accept that this will incur ‘pain’ on sectors which are less advantaged.

However, we have concerns over the government’s approach to categorising the targeting.

First, we hold the view that strategic sectors such as aviation and other sectors that matter most to the future economy should be prioritised and not just sectors hurting the most. F&B and Hotels are poor or negative value-adding and absorb large factor inputs. The tourism and consumption propensities will fall so natural contraction should be permitted. Even historically important sectors such as Marine and Offshore should be allowed to find their economic level.

Second, the government should prioritise Singapore champions including emergent SMEs and promising start-ups and not MNC RHQs. This is the time to grow a strong base of local businesses beyond GLCs and rebalance the economic structure between MNCs and local companies.

Third, the targeting should be finely calibrated and not just sectoral and come with performance criteria and clawback clauses to safeguard abuse of public monies.

We believe the next few years represent the opportunity to press reset on the Singapore economy to benefit Singaporean workers and entrepreneurs.”