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Reactions to Singapore Budget 2019

01 March 2019

By Arlene Wherrett, VP and Managing Director, Sage Asia.

Reactions to Singapore Budget 2019This year's Budget is SME-friendly, with a continued focus on enhancing SME's leap into embracing technology.

Beyond the expansion of the SMEs Go Digital programme, the Info-Communications and Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore will pilot a cross-border marketplace powered by artificial intelligence to help SMEs find global buyers and suppliers.

The decision to extend the Automation Support Programme (ASP), to 2021, to help SMEs gain better access to loans for deploying impactful, large-scale automation such as robotics, Internet of Things solutions and other Industry 4.0 technologies is another positive move as such technology can help to improve productivity and enhance human performance. The new Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) relating to blockchain, embedded software and prefabrication will prepare Singaporeans to move into these new growth areas and highlights the continued focus of the government in supporting SMEs to take advantage of the regional economic growth, despite the headwinds in today's economic climate.

In particular, the expansion of the SMEs Go Digital programme could not have come at a more suitable time to help SMEs compete more effectively in the digital economy. Its latest expansion to include new sectors such as accountancy, sea transport and construction, will deliver a much-needed boost. With many of the tasks performed in these sectors being disrupted by artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation, businesses will need to recalibrate to survive in the rapidly transforming business landscape. Adopting digital solutions and shifting themselves further up the value chain through integrating technology and re-engineering business processes will be an important step for SMEs to improve on their efficiency and innovate in product and services development.

Arlene Wherrett's Reactions to Singapore Budget 2019 article was featured first in SME Magazine Asia March 2019 print publication on page 38.