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 Off-Budget steps to come?

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Max
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PostSubject: Off-Budget steps to come?   Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:23 pm

Off-Budget steps to come?
By Fiona Chan



Even as the guest panellists praised this year's Budget statement, expectations of a 'Plan B' hung in the air, in the form of more off-Budget measures to come later this year. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE'S latest Budget is a bold and decisive one with innovative ideas that tackle the key issues of reducing business costs and preserving jobs head-on.

That was the verdict of a panel of business leaders, economic watchers and tax experts hosted by audit firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) on Monday.

But even as the guest panellists praised this year's Budget statement - announced two weeks ago and to be debated in Parliament starting on Tuesday - expectations of a 'Plan B' hung in the air, in the form of more off-Budget measures to come later this year.

One of the panellists, British Chamber of Commerce president Terry O'Connor, said any follow-up stimulus is likely to revolve around boosting demand.

This is essential to keep companies positive about earnings visibility, added Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh.

'If they do see visibility of demand coming back in six to nine months they will continue their business. But if there's no visibility, they may discontinue, and more jobs will be lost.'

While it is true that about 50 to 60 per cent of any spending is 'leaked' out of Singapore due to a heavy reliance on imports, 'we should try to get as much of the remaining 40 to 50 per cent as we can', suggested Business Times associate editor Vikram Khanna.

'At the end of the day you have to have demand. If there's no demand there's no work to do, if there's no business, the Jobs Credit Scheme is not going to be effective,' he said.

'By retaining an employee that earns $2,500 a month you save $300. By firing him you save $2,500.'

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_333396.html
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