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Tech leaders' wishlist for Singapore Budget 2023 (Part 1)

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur2/2/2023 04:30 PM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Tech leaders' wishlist for Singapore Budget 2023 (Part 1)
More government support for the adoption of technology solutions and upskilling will help Singapore weather the downturn. Photo: Unsplash
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The global economic outlook is gloomy, with a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey revealing that 73% of chief executives around the world expect global economic growth to decline over the next 12 months.

Given that sentiment, here are what some leaders in the tech sector hope to see in the Singapore Budget 2023 to support and encourage businesses in the country to take advantage of technology to survive and thrive in the challenging times ahead.

Haresh Khoobchandani, vice president for Asia Pacific, Autodesk

Despite setbacks from global events, the construction industry in Singapore is expected to record steady growth for the next four years.

Projects are becoming even more complex, with tight deadlines and financial caps to meet. There is a genuine business need and opportunity for the government to address key construction challenges by investing in innovative technologies that enable greater efficiencies. These include automation, Building Information Management, and digital twins to bring much-needed certainty of cost, scheduling and scope to projects.

Further, continued support through programmes such as the Enterprise Development Grant will enable Singapore businesses to adopt automation and technology to remain competitive, while funding to upskill and attract people to the industry can alleviate labour shortage woes. As part of the Singapore government’s ongoing commitment towards sustainable development, the benefits of investing in technology to reduce material wastage and embodied carbon, enhance collaboration, and workstyle transformation must also be considered.

See also: Majority of companies in Singapore are not cyber resilient

Joshua Foo, regional director for Asean and Central Asia, Chainalysis

Despite the tumultuous year that cryptocurrencies have gone through, 2023 presents an opportunity for institutions to put in place reforms, policies and partnerships to enhance financial inclusion, create new business avenues and support the advancement of Singapore’s digital economy.

For the continued growth and innovation of blockchain and the broader financial community, we recommend the Singapore government leverage blockchain data to develop a robust legal and regulatory framework to protect financial institutions and promote greater participation while enhancing consumer education at the same time, supported by the same data.

See also: Employees in Singapore prioritise digital skills over green skills

Additionally, effective collaboration between public-sector and private stakeholders, as well as a focus on education on blockchain technology and usage, will also be critical to weeding out bad actors and building trust in blockchains to pave the way for more financial freedom with less risk.

Simon Wong, director for JAPAC Services, HubSpot

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the Singapore economy. However, with rising customer expectations towards seamless online experiences, businesses have rushed to adopt multiple-point solutions to address challenges. These disconnected systems raise the total cost of ownership, compromise customer experience, and are not sustainable for future growth.

A crucial step forward for SMEs will be to consolidate their tech stack and data integrations and choose a single platform approach over multiple tools to deliver a seamless customer experience and improve competitiveness for Singapore businesses.

SMEs require continued support on their journey to innovation and digitisation through grants, tax rebates and incentive schemes to get them future-ready.

As the requirements for emerging technology skills arise, there also needs to be a concerted effort in training and building a future-ready workforce. The government can play a crucial role with incentives and initiatives such as expanding the SkillsFuture programme to cover courses like marketing tech skills and sales automation.

Claribel Chai, country director for Singapore, Palo Alto Networks

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Davos 2023 has presented a cautiously optimistic global economic outlook, owing to inflationary pressures, trade policies and debt distress.

The traditional concept of the “technology sector” has evolved from what it once was, because every firm today is a technology company. Therefore, cybersecurity cuts horizontally across the significant economic and growth engines.

Singapore can stay ahead by enhancing allocation for schemes that build digital capabilities in our businesses and workers. However, investing in solid cybersecurity and data protection foundations will be essential to foster sustainable growth.

Prioritising digital skill development programmes to nurture the next generation of digital guardians and enhancing security for the broad base of SMEs will power our next stage of development. Helping businesses securely accelerate cloud adoption, automation and a developing security roadmap for 6G infrastructure will be essential budget considerations to sustain the nation’s growth and transformation.

Guna Chellappan, general manager for Singapore, Red Hat

While businesses are expected to be more conservative with their digital spending and investments in the coming months, it is still vital that they spend wisely to prepare for the years ahead.

We’ve seen companies start their transition to the cloud in recent years, but many others are still finding their feet. I hope to see the government encourage businesses to continue in their progress towards modernising their IT infrastructure and realising the benefits of hybrid cloud. This will ensure that businesses have stronger visibility and control over their IT infrastructure even as they plan for the future.

Singapore Budget 2023 should promote a strong innovation ecosystem where businesses have the capabilities to innovate rapidly and meaningfully with the cloud to create value while leveraging automation to increase productivity and lower costs. This will enable businesses to remain agile, navigate through unprecedented events and emerge stronger for future growth.

Eileen Chua, managing director for Singapore, SAP

In the past year, Singapore ramped up investments in digitalising the bedrock of its economy — SMEs — to enable them to become more intelligent, agile and efficient. Building on this momentum through cloud technologies will be crucial for businesses increasingly facing a potential global recession, high inflationary pressures and escalating geopolitical tensions.

A renewed emphasis on focusing on a sustainable green future is also paramount, catalysed by public, private and plural partnerships. Additionally, as we continue to further our status as an innovation hub, reskilling and upskilling workers must remain a priority for Singapore. Digital and data literacy will be key for a future-ready workforce to succeed in the digital economy.

Alex Teo, vice president and managing director of Southeast Asia, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Over the past few years, the increasing adoption of digital technologies has caused significant changes in the industrial sector. However, many organisations will need to be more efficient and cost-effective by utilising smart manufacturing as an uncertain economic climate looms.

I hope there will be initiatives in this year’s budget to support manufacturers as they continue to adopt new technologies — like automation, digital twins, predictive maintenance and the Internet of Things — for smart manufacturing.

Modern digital twin simulations create virtual models of their manufacturing processes, which can be used to simulate and optimise production before implementing changes in the physical world. Predictive maintenance can help reduce downtime, prolong equipment life, prevent quality failures, and initiate corrective actions throughout the production life-cycle.

Overall, such digital investments can enable manufacturers to increase operational efficiencies, improve business resilience and prepare for disruptions

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