THE Government understands the difficulties that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have with the tightened foreign worker numbers and will try its best to help.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck will be meeting business associations and representatives to find out how to better support them, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally Mandarin speech last night.
There are many assistance schemes but SMEs may not know of them, he added.
Acknowledging that these firms’ biggest challenge currently is the lack of manpower, PM Lee reiterated that the Government has slowed the pace but did not stop the inflow. But he warned that not controlling the foreign worker numbers will lead to “serious consequences”.
“The foreign worker issue is complex and the Government cannot meet all the demands. There is no perfect solution,” he said. “But we will definitely help SMEs find a way to make it.”
In a lighter moment, he quoted labour MP Yeo Guat Kwang, who said SME bosses had used three Chinese song titles to describe how they felt government policies were hurting them.
Responding, Mr Lee gave his own three titles to describe how the Government promises to stand with SMEs but it wonders whether it remains loved, drawing laughter from the audience.
Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Chan Chong Beng said having the matter raised at the Rally showed the Government is very concerned about the problems SMEs face.
He urged the firms to also make an effort to tap the official schemes: “The grants do not have legs and will not walk to the SMEs, so the firms have to help themselves too.”
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