Highlights from Ministry of Trade Committee of Supply Debate 2016

Budget 2016 seeks to transform the economy through innovation and enterprise, and build a caring and resilient society for all Singaporeans. This will be a collaborative effort by the people, businesses, the community and the government.

Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, delivered the Budget Statement for the Financial Year (FY 2016) on 24 March 2016. During the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced how they will be supporting businesses during this challenging time and transforming the economy to position Singapore for the future. 


Seize Opportunities


Singapore must capitalise on global economic trends that present exciting new opportunities, so that we can continue to thrive even in a slower growth environment.


Leverage disruptive technologies to ensure Singapore remains competitive and a key global player

  • Digital technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud technology which are transforming our industries including manufacturing 

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) which integrates info-comm technology (ICT) into manufacturing value chains to allow real-time factory visibility and automation, immediate and predictive equipment maintenance and optimisation of energy usage, among others 

  • Additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) to enable rapid prototyping, cheaper low volume production, shortened supply chains, optimised designs and mass customisation 

  • Robotics to enable greater automation and improve operational efficiency and productivity of manufacturing processes  

Tap on economic opportunities presented by urbanisation and rising consumerism in Asia


Drive deeper regional and global economic integration through trade agreements like Asean Economic Community (AEC), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that will benefit our companies and people



Create Value


MTI will move into deeper value creation anchored on entrepreneurship and innovation to harness future opportunities and compete globally.


Integrate restructuring efforts through a $4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme


  • Industry Transformation Maps (ITM), a targeted approach to plan, guide and support sectors through customising productivity, SkillsFuture, technology roadmaps and internationalisation plans

  • Appointment of “Cluster Champions” to map out sector plans and ensure greater integration and tighter coordination

  • National Robotics Programme (NRP) to provide over $450 million over the next 3 years to drive end-to-end development, test-bedding and deployment of robotics technology


Deepen innovation capabilities

  • $3.25 billion from the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 fund, set aside for research in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) capabilities

  • Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI) to expand outreach to SMES

  • Enhanced GET-Up Programme to support the secondment of senior research scientists and engineers (RSEs) to SMEs

  • Increase of $200 million for Industry Alignment Fund (IAF) to catalyse more public-private research collaborations


Strengthen eco-system for start-ups to scale

  • Internationalisation

  • Partnerships

  • An enabling regulatory environment

  • Talent development


Boost Productivity


Companies in Singapore need to push ahead with productivity and transformation. The MTI will support companies to restructure and internationalise through an integrated and targeted approach, and work with the industry and employers to up-skill our workers to prepare for jobs of the future.


 Provide near-term relief to companies via financing support 

  • New SME Working Capital Loan scheme for 3 years, for loans up to $300,000 per SME, where Government will co-share 50% of the default risk with participating financial institutions, to encourage bank lending to SMEs 

  • Grant budget of over $2.3 billion under the fifth tranche of the Enterprise Development Fund (EDF 5) to support existing SPRING and IE Singapore schemes including the Capability Development Grant (CDG), Innovation and Capability Vouchers (ICV), Partnership for Capability Transformation (PACT), Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), Global Company Partnership (GCP), and Micro-Loan Programme (MLP) 

  • Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme (DTDi) extended till 31 March 2020 to provide targeted assistance to address manpower needs of internationalising companies 


 Adopt a medium to long-term approach to help companies restructure via innovation and transformation

  • More than $400 million through the Automation Support Package over the next 3 years with: 
    a) enhanced CDG which supports 50% of full scale automation project costs beyond pilot phases, up to $1 million
    b) new Investment Allowance (IA)
    c) enhanced Local Enterprise Finance Scheme (LEFS)

  • Enhanced Infocomm for Productivity and Growth (IPG) to support ancillary costs like retrofitting and business consultancy, help SMEs to upgrade to the latest solutions which work better, and provide support for the scaling- up of solutions across all branches of a business


 Develop physical spaces to foster a vibrant and innovation-enabling environment for companies 

  • Jurong Innovation District (JID) to house several key growth areas that Singapore intends to develop, including advanced manufacturing, robotics, urban solutions, cleantech and smart logistics 

  • JTC Launchpad @ JID by 2017 to support start-ups, incubators and accelerators 


Adopt a cluster development approach to revitalise and transform traditional sectors through shared solutions 

  • JTC Food Hub @ Senoko which houses a shared Cold room and Warehouse Facility 

  • JTC’s Furniture Hub @ Sungei Kadut (to be completed in 2018) to cluster furniture and related companies offering trade, manufacturing, interior design, material supplies as well as distribution and fit-out services

  • Metals, Machinery and Timber Hub (MMT) @ Kranji (to be completed in 2020) for SMEs in metals, machinery and timber trades to explore productive initiatives such as the installation of overhead cranes to reduce their reliance on fork lifts and shared services like logistics, centralised heat treatment and waste management


Work through Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to drive industry transformation

  • LEAD-Plus to provide wider funding to strengthen TACs’ in-house capabilities 

  • Collaboration through SPRING’s Collaborative Industry Projects (CIPs) to build TACs’ capabilities 


Work with agencies and industries to help Singaporeans up-skill and re-skill 

  • SkillsFuture Sectoral Manpower Plans (SMPs) to identify the strategies and action plans required for developing sector-specific skills 

  • Partner MOM, MOE and industry partners on ongoing SkillsFuture initiatives and facilitate collaboration: 
    a) SkillsFuture Mentors initiative,
    b) Young Talent Programme (YTP) and
    c) SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme