Themed " Building our shared future together", Budget 2024 was presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong, on 16 February 2024. Singapore faces a myraid of challenges in the coming year due to geopolitical tensions, escalating costs and economic uncertainties. Despite these, businesses stand to benefit if they can capitalise on the opportunities presented in Budget 2024, particularly in areas such as technology innovation, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), and workforce support. 


Technology and Innovation

Budget 2024 underscores Singapore's commitment to emerging technologies, notably through the National AI Strategy (NAIS) 2.0’s S$1 billion investment over the next five years. Investments in artificial intelligence (AI) computing resources, talent, access to semiconductor chips, and collaborative partnerships with industry leaders, not only lay the foundation for significant AI advancement in Singapore, but also bolster our standing as a global hub for AI innovation. In anticipation of rising demand for AI and immersive technologies, Singapore will also upgrade and future-proof the nationwide broadband network. Therefore, technology and telecommunications companies are strategically positioned to capture opportunities in Singapore’s advancing AI and technology ecosystem.


Additionally, companies are encouraged to innovate and enhance their capabilities through the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) scheme, to meet stringent requirements and standards imposed by business partners such as multinational enterprises (MNEs). With the enhancement of PACT, businesses are now supported to collaborate with larger companies in areas such as capability training, internationalisation, and corporate venturing. To emphasise this, Budget 2024 showcased how a local company leveraged the PACT scheme to boost its technology capabilities to meet an MNE’s partnership criteria. As a result, this collaboration boosted the company’s industry opportunities and sales.


Businesses may also explore and tap on other schemes such as the enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) and a newly introduced Refundable Investment Credit (RIC) to alleviate certain cost pressures and to attract investments when pursuing technological partnerships and transformation.


Aligning with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, businesses adopting ESG solutions can now utilise the enhanced support for green loans under the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS). Companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should capitalise on the EFS to enhance long-term growth, by actively exploring avenues for transforming their operations with ESG solutions. Furthermore, with the Energy Efficiency Grant (EEG) being extended to more sectors, numerous sectors stand to benefit from this support. The new sectors such as manufacturing, construction, maritime, and data centres can now maximise the EEG to invest in technologies and initiatives for energy-efficient savings. With the increased emphasis on sustainability in Singapore, businesses with well-defined ESG vision, strategy, and actionable plan stand to gain the most from these initiatives.


As industries evolve at an unprecedented pace, employers must equip their employees with diverse skill sets to thrive in a changing environment. Budget 2024 offers extensive support for workforce development and transformation. The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) encourages companies to drive enterprise and workforce transformation, leveraging skills-based approaches to recruit and develop talent, redesign jobs, facilitate redeployment, and explore alternative pathways for recruitment, reskilling, and upskilling.


The Budget also empowers employees to take charge of their own learning and development through SkillsFuture top-ups or subsidies. Therefore, companies should build aculture of continuous learning and actively encourage staff to pursue these opportunities. In addition to enhancing skill sets within the company, it would also improve job satisfaction, employee retention, and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the company.


With an increased focus on sustainability in Singapore, there is also a rise in regulatory demands regarding sustainability reporting and assurance. Beyond mere utilisation of the grants and subsidies provided by the Budget, companies should prioritise crafting a comprehensive ESG vision, strategy, and action plan. This approach not only maximises on the benefits given by Budget 2024 but also ensures long-term sustainability.

The Takeaway

Budget 2024 marks Singapore's emergence from the shadows of the COVID-19 era to a hopeful future, characterised by a dynamic workforce, technologiccally advanced companies, and corporate sustainability. Companies are encouraged to reassess their current state and understand how Budget 2024 can bolster them across diverse domains. Strengths in technology, workforce agility, and sustainability will serve as crucial factors for a company's future success. 


To find out more about how we can support your technology or ESG journey, please contact our specialist: