In response to the multifaceted challenges facing businesses in Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) has put forth a strategic initiative aimed at mitigating escalating costs in the year 2024. The proposed undertaking, the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Business Competitiveness, seeks to encourage collaboration between businesses and policymakers to address a spectrum of issues including new green taxes, soaring utility rates, a diminishing workforce, costly raw materials, and supply chain disruptions.
The Alliance for Action (AfA) on Business Competitiveness, as conceptualized by the SBF (Singapore Business Federation), reflects a proactive response to the complex and interconnected challenges that businesses are grappling with on various fronts. On January 18, the apex trade association said that the days of near-free loans are unlikely to return when markets are expecting interest to ease. Kok Ping Soon, the chief executive of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), at a dinner hosted for journalists, delivered the 2023 report card and sketched out its plan for this year.
One of the focal points of concern is the implementation of new green taxes, reflecting the global trend towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. A diminishing workforce is another critical aspect addressed by the proposed alliance. With demographic shifts and evolving labour market dynamics, the AfA (Alliance for Action) will strategize on ways to attract and retain talent, ensuring a resilient and skilled workforce to drive economic growth.
The chief executive also added by saying that the government might not own the switch on interest rates or energy costs. Still, there is no looking away from the firms that are suffering from accelerating operating costs. The former GovTech executive hopes and expects to make the discussion open. The former GovTeach executive also wants more and more enterprises to lead and own the onus of growing business conditions. He also asserted, “Rather than not addressing it, rather than doing it in closed dialogues, why don’t we grab the issue by the horns and put it out in the business public.”
He further said to unpack the issue, understand the drivers of it, and look for opportunities where they can make a difference, not on a broad-based basis but on a targeted sectoral basis. On a joint proposal with the consultancy firm KPMG, SBF made the call for the Budget session for the year 2024, which Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is going to open on February 16.
Mr Kok also stated that the pro-workers policies were all right, but if looked at from a business point of view, they do not increase business costs. Regarding the government’s invitation to be part of its planning for the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone, which was made public with a memorandum of understanding (MoU), Mr Kok said that they would like to use this opportunity to provide inputs to shaping this MoU. In the year 2023, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) organized over 600 events to support the overseas expansion of businesses along with digitalization and transformation and also to develop talent. It held almost 270 training courses for 3600 workers to help businesses and also to address manpower challenges.