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Companies downbeat about 2017 prospects: SBF survey
A SURVEY has found that there is a noticeable disconnect between the government's push for firms to transform as the economy restructures, and how firms are responding to, and implementing these efforts.
This comes as nearly half of them are expecting the economic climate to worsen further next year, results of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) National Business Survey 2016/17 show. A copy of the results were made available to the media on Wednesday morning.
The survey collected 1,131 responses from companies across all major industries between Oct 10 and Nov 23 this year.
Overall, 62 per cent of respondents agree that they have to transform to adapt to slowing economic growth and technological disruption. However, only 15 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises and 36 per cent of large ones strongly agree with the need.
Only a small 13 per cent of respondents say that the government's efforts at helping them at adapting to slower growth are sufficient. Some 18 per cent say that the measures in helping them to respond to technological change are enough.
"The message from the government for transformation appears to be getting through, but it's not enough," said SBF chief executive officer Ho Meng Kit.
Internationalisation is another key plank in Singapore's economic restructuring, but only 21 per cent say that they have benefited from the free trade agreements signed. Some 74 per cent think that the Asean Economic Community did not benefit them.
When asked about how they see the economy going over the next 12 months, 48 per cent see it getting worse over the next 12 months, while 41 per cent see it remaining the same. This means that only one in 10 expect the economic climate to improve next year.
Some 63 per cent of firms polled say that the economic climate had worsened this year. Only 3 per cent say that it was better.
The survey also showed that hotels and restaurants, and retail trade rank high among all industries as the ones facing dire challenges. These include operational costs, labour issues, competition and revenue growth.