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Budget 2016 Quick Takes: SICC says Budget is a clear call to action

The following is the media statement from the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) following Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat's Budget 2016 speech:

There was much about this budget that was expected. We expected it would be prudent given that this is the first budget of the new Parliament. We expected that it would seek to help SMEs grow and succeed. The planned launch of the one-stop Business Grants Portal to help SMEs navigate the multitude of government grants available is a very positive step forward. Businesses have requested for this and will warmly welcome its arrival.

What we did not expect was the very clear call to action. Out with any possible complacency and pessimism and in with closer partnership and confidence with everybody - employees, employers, unions, trade associations and chambers, research institutions and the government all playing their part in driving Singapore's economy forward. The Chamber applauds this call to action and sense of urgency. There is no time to lose.

We also welcome the renewed focus on innovation and collaborative innovation to achieve increased productivity. This is what the Chamber celebrates in the SICC awards.

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Equally welcome is the phasing out of broad-brush measures which have been less effective and their replacement by much more targeted measures.

The clear aim is to obtain value for every dollar spent. This is evident in the schemes to help our young and our seniors, to support businesses and workers as they adjust and develop new solutions and skills to meet the changed economic realities. This targeted approach is also evident in measures designed to help those citizens who are less able or less well off.

The inclusion of measures to support corporate giving celebrate inclusivity and the drive of so many Singaporeans to give back to society. This makes for a truly complete first budget of the new parliamentary term. It is realistic and provides the government with the options of doing more if the economic headwinds worsen and as the Committee for the Future Economy provides its input.

For more Budget stories, go to bt.sg/budget_16. For live analysis by commentators on our blog go to bt.sg/budget2016blog.

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