The theme of the Singapore Budget 2019, delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament yesterday afternoon, was to strengthen Singapore’s role as a “Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise”. This theme manifested itself in the Budget primarily through increased investment from the Government in R&D and building global innovation partnerships - both moves that will be welcomed in an evolving global economic landscape.
The Government continues to emphasise the promotion of R&D in Singapore, through programmes such as the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan. This follows the enhancement of tax deductions for R&D implemented under Budget 2018.
Minister Heng also commented that he would "strengthen" Singapore’s tax incentives. Such strengthening reflects the government's objectives to ensure that our incentive regime will continue to be attractive in an increasingly complex, global business landscape, with a competitive tax regime described by Minister Heng as a "key anchor" to Singapore's economic growth.
Notably, Singapore’s fund incentive schemes have been extended and expanded to encompass a broader range of designated investments. This reflects the Government’s goal to continue to grow Singapore as a fund management hub.
Further, the extension of writing down allowances for acquisition of qualifying intellectual property (IP) rights also clearly signals Singapore’s intent in a knowledge-based economy, where R&D and IP creation/management form a key platform in future economic growth.
With changing demographic patterns acknowledged by Minister Heng – including an ageing population – Budget 2019 generally reflects carefully designed measures that seek to meet the needs of Singaporeans while also ensuring Singapore continues to be an economic, technological and innovation leader in Asia.