Helping Businesses Cope with Rising Costs
Mr Derrick Goh (Nee Soon): Chairman, our SMEs continue to navigate a challenging environment including rising costs. Financial markets are currently pricing the US Federal Funds Rate to reach 5.25%, reinforcing the view that interest rates will remain higher for longer. The interest burden for businesses are expected to at least be double compared to last year.
Locally, the GST increase would also impact smaller SMEs who are not GST-registered and a higher CPF salary ceiling announced in this Budget will add further pressures to businesses. In this regard, what further measures will MTI provide to support SMEs and encourage them to adapt in such a challenging environment?
Generally, SMEs are vulnerable to interest rate hikes and are keen to know if MTI will consider continued interest rate subsidies under the Enterprise Financing Scheme before they decide on whether to take more risk to pursue growth opportunities?
I have received feedback from SMEs welcoming Deputy Prime Minister’s response during the Budget debate, where he said that agencies will continue to streamline and improve the application process for Government assistance schemes, balancing convenience and accountability. On this point, can MTI share more details on what refinements to the existing administrative processes for Government schemes are being considered? Will there be more forums for SMEs to provide further feedback?
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