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MOM unveils scheme to help progressive SMEs grow amid a manpower-lean economy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 14:04
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Office workers during lunch time at Raffles Place on June 16, 2014.

THE Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday announced a scheme to help progressive small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transform and grow in the new manpower-lean landscape.

While unveiling the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, MOM invited "impactful, scalable" proposals that can potentially transform industry practices within a two to three-year time frame.

During the transition period, MOM will also allow some temporary manpower policy adjustments, such as allowing companies to have temporary foreign workers while recruiting and training locals to take on better jobs when the new business models have stabilised, and to pool foreign sources of expertise at the industry level to help transfer know-how to the local workforce.

"Our tight labour market and some of our current manpower policies may hinder SMEs from this restructuring. . . This is intended to support projects which will result in a stronger Singaporean core, with a smaller but higher quality pool of foreign workers as a supplement," it said.

The transitional manpower support for each SME project will be reviewed annually and is renewable for up to three years.

The scheme aims to support SMEs that want to become more productive, innovative and manpower-lean, so that pioneers and early adopters can find out how viable their transformational business models are.

The scheme will be piloted for two years from Oct 1, 2015.

Priority will be given to projects that can be scaled up to create a transformational change for their industries. Proposals that involve groups of companies and/or are endorsed by the relevant industry association will also be given priority.

The scheme is expected to eventually transform existing businesses to reduce manpower wastage and overall reliance on foreign manpower, introduce breakthrough ideas to make industries more ready for the future, and transfer advanced skills and knowledge to speed up the process of restructuring.

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