EY reactions to Singapore Budget 2019

Singapore, 18 February 2019

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EY today released its reactions to the Singapore Budget 2019 announcement.

Overall views

Ms. Soh Pui Ming, Head of Tax Services, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“Transformation is a journey, not a destination. Budget 2019 recognises this, and continues to provide support to help Singapore enterprises to deepen capabilities, innovate and internationalise in order to compete in the new global economy.”

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“Finance Minister said that Singapore needs to be nimble like a mousedeer. This mousedeer needs also the boldness of a lion to do things differently, wisdom of an owl to cut through the complexity of the new economy and the care of the mother hen to leave no one behind.”

Strengthening economic competitiveness

Building deep enterprise capabilities

Launch of Scale-up SG and SME Co-Investment Fund Ill

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“Singapore Budget 2019 continues to recognise the challenges faced by SMEs to innovate and expand overseas. Measures such as Scale-up SG and SME Co-Investment Fund III help to level the playing field and ensure that no one get lefts behind as Singapore seeks to remain competitive.”

Streamlined Enterprise Financing Scheme

Mr. Chia Seng Chye, Partner, Tax Services, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“The simplified Enterprise Financing Scheme is a welcomed move to provide additional support to local startups and emerging enterprises to meet their funding needs and help manage their cash flow.”

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“The streamlining of the existing financing schemes into a single Enterprise Financing Scheme is a welcomed move. It will reduce administrative costs for SMEs, and hopefully help them to gain quicker access to funds needed for their expansion plans.”

Building deep worker capabilities

Mr. Samir Bedi, Partner, People Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd. says:
“The outcomes achieved with the industry transformation efforts thus far validates the country’s persistence to deepen enterprise and worker capabilities.”

Mr. Samir Bedi, Partner, People Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd. says:
“Redesigning jobs and reskilling our people are central to this year’s Budget. A nice sweetener would have been an additional SkillsFuture credit top-up – this could have further accelerated our lifelong learning culture.”

New Professional Conversion Programme

Ms. Tan Bin Eng, Partner, Business Incentives Advisory Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“Industry 4.0 is a tidal wave that cannot be ignored by all companies and workers. The imperative to retrain workers has never been more urgent than before. The extension of the Professional Conversion Programmes into more areas will be appreciated by companies and partially alleviate the costs of retraining staff in this uncertain economic environment.”

Building deep partnerships across the economy

Streamlining and digitisation of trade processes

Mr. Adrian Ball, EY Asia-Pacific Indirect Tax Leader and Partner, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“It has long been perceived that the main beneficiaries of Singapore’s comprehensive network of free trade agreements (FTA) are existing multinational corporations, so it is very welcomed that the government is intensifying efforts to streamline and digitise trade processes to allow SMEs easier access to the same FTA benefits. This will help SMEs in expanding beyond Singapore’s borders.”

Building Singapore’s position as Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise

Ms. Tan Bin Eng, Partner, Business Incentives Advisory Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“It is heartening to hear of the continued emphasis on the importance of companies leading R&D efforts. The large number of corporate R&D centres set up in Singapore is reflective of the strong ecosystem that Singapore has built up over the years.”

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“For Singapore to develop as a Global-Asia node, Singapore needs talents with broad global experience. The efforts to provide Singaporeans with increased overseas exposure through exchange programmes will bring out the best in our people.”

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“Just as Singapore enjoys success in its roots as a port, being the ‘Asia 101’ for global multinational corporations (MNC) is in our DNA as well. The proximity, similar time zones and strong talent pool has put Singapore in an advantageous position. The next step will be to continue to stay relevant and competitive.”

Building a caring society

Personal tax rebate

Mr. Chester Wee, Partner, International Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“The personal tax rebate is huge in percentage but small in cap. It reflects a better policy to share the country’s surpluses in a more targeted fashion to help those with greater need.”

Merdeka Generation package

Mr. Panneer Selvam, Partner, People Advisory Services – Mobility (Tax), Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“As anticipated, this year's Budget was filled with a generous dose of health care benefits for all Singaporeans. In particular, the Merdeka Generation can have peace of mind for their long-term care support, which also covers additional subsidies for outpatient care.”

SG cares

Ms. Sandie Wun, Partner, Transaction Tax, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“The government leads by example in encouraging all public officers to volunteer as part of Public Service Cares initiative. Together with the one-stop platform for donations, Giving.sg, these are great initiatives in the spirit of giving back as the nation marks the Singapore Bicentennial.”

Ensuring a sustainable environment for all

Zero Waste Masterplan

Ms. Sandie Wun, Partner, Transaction Tax, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“It comes as a surprise that vehicle taxes would be reduced in Singapore. Budget 2019 however announced that as part of the Zero Waste Masterplan, diesel taxes will be restructured, including the reduction of road taxes for diesel taxis and commercial vehicles.”

GST Import Relief

Mr. Yeo Kai Eng, Partner, Indirect Tax Services Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP says:
“The reduction of the GST import relief for travellers does not come as a surprise. It remains to be seen if there will be a step up in enforcement action by the authorities.”

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, a member of the global EY organization.