SINGAPORE (Feb 19): Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat encouraged all firms to embrace innovation and adopt new technologies as a key competitive advantage in his Budget 2018 speech.

Heng said the government will streamline existing grants for adoption of pre-scoped, off-the-shelf technologies into one Productivity Solutions Grant.

In an effort to support local firms to build their own innovations, the government will raise tax reduction on licensing payments for the commercial use of IP to 200% compared to 100% previously, capped at $100,000 of licensing payments yearly.

The government will also raise tax deductions for qualifying expenses incurred on research and development (R&D) in Singapore, from 150% to 250%.

To help firms find partners to co-create solutions, the government will be piloting the Open Innovation Platform, which is a virtual crowd-sourcing platform where companies can be matched with ICT firms and research institutes, to co-develop digital solutions.

Meanwhile, National Research Foundation (NRF) and Temasek Holdings will launch a new investment venture to groom start-ups based on IP created from publicly-funded R&D in Singapore.

Heng addded the government will continue to harness R&D resources to enhance our economic competitiveness, drive greater adoption of digital technology, automation and robotics.

To drive greater adoption of digital technology, automation and robotics in the economy, the government will launch an Aviation Transformation Programme; a Maritime Transformation Programme; and expand the National Robotics Programme.