A time for transformation
Trade embargoes, raw material shortages and critical labour gaps — the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the vulnerabilities of the global supply chain, forcing governments and industries to re-think the business of trade.
As a strategic maritime and supply chain hub in the regional and global arena, Singapore will set the tone for a revitalised system that will leverage innovation like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to future-proof the sector.
Digital transformation is also expected to reinvigorate hard-hit sectors like travel, trade and tourism. This will allow business operations to keep pace with the new digital expectations that have emerged as a result of the pandemic.
Read on to find out how Singapore can harness technology to stay ahead of the game.
The extension of targeted assistance for the aviation/tourism sector is key in helping position hard-hit sectors for an upturn when the global economy recovers as the pandemic eases. In particular, the extension of the financing and wage support schemes will ensure that core capabilities are preserved during the downturn, while helping firms in these sectors to reposition themselves and seize opportunities for when demand returns.
From hard-hit to hard-hitting
Companies severely affected by the COVID-19 virus will receive a much-needed boost, thanks to the S$500 million Jobs and Business Support Package provided by the Singapore Government. Beyond helping them to defray the operational costs of doing business, this will also help to increase overall profitability in the long run.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, look set to benefit from this move. Businesses in hard-hit industries like the food and beverage, retail, tourism, and hospitality sectors will get a payout of S$1,000 per local employee up to a cap of S$10,000 per firm under the Small Business Recovery Grant. This will also benefit local sole proprietors and partnerships in eligible sectors. These include SFA-licensed hawkers, market, and coffee shop stallholders, who do not hire local employees.
Companies severely affected by the COVID-19 virus will receive a much-needed boost, thanks to the $500 million Jobs and Business Support Package
Empowering the local workforce is also a top priority. Initially scheduled to end in March this year, the Jobs Growth Incentive Scheme will be extended till September 2022. By providing companies with key subsidies to offset the wages of newly hired local workers, the scheme encourages employers to go local.
But for its latest incarnation, the scheme will focus on vulnerable Singaporeans in the job sector. These include mature workers aged 40 and above who have not been employed for six months or more, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders.
The Jobs Growth Incentive Scheme will be extended till September 2022
Digital is in, disruption is out
As companies transition to a post-pandemic economy, harnessing the potential of digital ecosystems can help them mitigate current challenges and future-proof their operations. To this end, the Singapore Government will be pumping in an additional S$200 million to encourage more companies to step up their digitalisation efforts and expand their services.
One such initiative that looks set to benefit from this is the Advanced Digital Solutions scheme. This helps firms incorporate future-ready digital solutions like robotics and automation into their everyday operations. These include elements like general task robotics, specialised task robotics and maintenance and facilities management robotics amongst others.
The scheme will also boost the Grow Digital scheme, which empowers SMEs to develop Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce platforms to sell to overseas markets. This means being able to transcend borders without having to physically leave Singapore’s shores.
The Singapore Government will be pumping in an additional S$200 million to encourage more companies to step up their digitalisation efforts
Creating the next generation of thinkers and innovators will also help boost Singapore’s transformation journey. To this end, the Government is hoping to increase the capacity of centres that play a key role in incubating technology, innovation and enterprise ideas. Targeted to be rolled out over the next five years, this will include key players like polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education.