POSTED 14 Oct 2019 - 10:33

What has been the impact, if any, of the economic downturn on your business or industry?

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Should there be support measures for the Singapore economy at this stage?

Top Response

Sudhanshu Tewari, CEO & Co-Founder, Rewardz

Many economists are forecasting a downturn, if not a full-blown recession, over the next 12-24 months. The economic downturn looks pretty real at this stage. We have seen budget cuts in HR spending by existing and potential clients. Some approved projects have been deferred due to budget cuts....


David Leong, Managing Director, PeopleWorldwide Consulting Pte Ltd
14 Oct 2019 - 10:43

The continuing weakness in the economy is unlikely to improve until daylight is seen from the long nightmare of the US-China trade conflict. The vacillating dramas between the two economies create stress and tensions across global supply chains and manufacturing sectors.

Our business cannot escape the uncertainties - employers are withholding hiring, with a great number of them retrenching.

Support measures must be targeted to retain workers through this period of stress and uncertainty, and should not just be broadbased grants to SMEs for innovation, technology adoption or productivity growth. This kind of help will not save the day but retaining Singaporean workers and PRs will save jobs and families. The fabric of our workforce must be resilient and be able to bounce back to form when the economy improves. The government's support must therefore be at the grassroots workforce level during periods of stress to provide employment support through wage subsidies, incentives for retention of older workers, and re-skilling and job training grants. A cut in the employer's CPF contribution rate will be the last card to throw.

Henry Tan Group, CEO, Nexia TS Group
14 Oct 2019 - 10:40

We are seeing signs of economic downturn with slower collections and with demand for our services starting to slow down. In addition we see signs of slowing in the performance of our clients. This economic slowdown is long overdue and we should brace for a significant impact because both US and China are facing slowdown. Impact for SMEs will be significant as the oil and gas, shipping, construction and retail industries are all doing badly. Some stimulus should be provided now before the impact to SMEs become unmanageable. I hope the wage credit scheme is reintroduced to help SMEs.

Sudhanshu Tewari, CEO & Co-Founder, Rewardz
14 Oct 2019 - 10:39

Many economists are forecasting a downturn, if not a full-blown recession, over the next 12-24 months. The economic downturn looks pretty real at this stage. We have seen budget cuts in HR spending by existing and potential clients. Some approved projects have been deferred due to budget cuts.

2020 is currently looking grim for SMEs like Rewardz for new business development. In order to thrive in these tough times, we are working on increasing operating margins through automation and rolling out technology products with the least operating expenses and high potential returns for the business.

The Singapore government needs to closely watch the impact of macroeconomic factors on the economy. Startups and SMEs are the backbone and one of the success stories of the local economy and they are most exposed and vulnerable during tough economic conditions. Any financial support with reduced borrowing costs, grants and tax breaks will be very welcome by the community at this stage.

Leaders may understandably be reluctant to take major actions until they see clear evidence that they are affected by economic headwinds. The next downturn will challenge many companies, but a few will emerge stronger, competitively and financially.

Maren Schweizer, Director, Schweizer World Pte Ltd
14 Oct 2019 - 10:36

We have been setting the sails for a stormy future by fat trimming and increasing our cash in hand. At this stage, it's by far too early to touch our reserve cash pool we had built over the last decade for anti-cyclical investments.

Regardless of why or when a next recession hits, policymakers should be ready with tools that provide a powerful fiscal stimulus aimed at boosting the spending by households, businesses or governments to relieve the aggregate demand shortfall that causes recessions. These tools should be constructed not only to be effective economically but also to be valuable politically, to ensure broad and engaged popular support.

I urge for multilateral preparedness and action.

Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS)
14 Oct 2019 - 10:36

Real estate activities have been relatively weak on the back of a challenging geopolitical and economic environment. Weaker manufacturing and electronics sector, retail and trade-related services could further exert pressure on occupancy levels and rents, affecting business sentiment, investments and expansion plans.

Likewise, buying sentiment is also affected. Real estate development and related businesses have played a pivotal role in creating jobs and driving investments. Property is also a major asset class for many - companies, institutional investors, conglomerates and Singaporeans. With the Singapore economy expected to continue its downward trend, we urge the government to watch the pulse of businesses closely and monitor the job market across the various sectors for signs of distress and roll out appropriate and targeted stimulus measures to help boost and sustain the economy in areas where needed.

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Victor Mills, Chief Executive, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
14 Oct 2019 - 10:34

Singapore's small, open economy is always vulnerable to negative external events. The current trade war between the world's two largest economies means everyone is a loser but small, open economies lose disproportionately more. Calls for government intervention are premature. We may be facing a technical recession but the more important indicator is that the job market is not yet in crisis. Thanks to good fortune, and sound economic management, Singapore has more than enough funds to help workers and businesses should the need arise. We are also very fortunate to have a government with the will to do so.

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