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    Manu Bhaskaran, CEO of Centennial Asia Advisors, said land and financing constraints impede private sector growth


    Manu Bhaskaran, CEO of Singapore-based research firm Centric Asia Advisors, said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would need the right business ecosystem to succeed, but land and financing constraints hamper private sector growth in Singapore She generates.

    Mr. Bhaskaran was involved in a webinar titled “The Future and Challenges to the Singapore Economy” on 17 April organized by Future of Singapore (FOSG) via Zoom.

    The webinar touched a fragmented global economy with Singapore stuck between the US and China blocks, disruptive technological revolutions, internet of things, 3D printing as well as future epidemics for jobs in artificial intelligence (AI) and global supply chains. Too.

    Citing points made by fellow panelists – Progress Singapore Party (PSP) NCMP Leong Mun Wai and Workers Party (WP) member Yi Zhen Jong – that the government should provide “substantial leeway” to private enterprises as companies market. Will understand you better , Mr. Bhaskaran said that such “free markets” would only work with “right conditions”.

    “The point of being flexible in the economy is that people with the right ideas should have access to land, labor and capital. In Singapore, if the government owns 85 percent of the land and they have these very strict zoning laws, then it really takes a lot of flexibility, ”he said.

    “Now if you have an SME with a bright idea or something, but it needs land and that applies to SLA for that land. Will he get it or will there be a bureaucratic decision like, ‘This SME is not really in the high-value area we are trying to address and we will deny that piece of land to SMEs,’ realistically. Obstruction, ”he explained.

    In terms of financing, Mr. Bhaskaran compared Singapore to Germany, stating that Germany has a financial institution that helps fund the country’s SMEs, while Singapore has no financing ecosystem.

    “If you want to make SMEs successful, then you have to create a proper level of playing field. In many other countries, they have strict laws to ensure that large companies cannot bully or intimidate small companies or do improper work.

    “I think we should have more protection of the small against the big and I think we don’t have enough,” he said.

    Mr. Bhaskaran also highlighted the need for an agency such as Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, which supports the country’s importers and exporters, noting that most competitors may be equipped with such assistance in their country.

    “But because for some reason we have a very pure perception that Exim banks are not very market friendly and we should not do all these things, I think our people lose and I think we have to do these things Are required to achieve any progress.

    Mr Bhaskaran said the Singapore government had been “overboard” on bringing in “low-skilled” migrant workers.

    “Now, they realize the mistake and they are becoming over-fed and very rigid in the way they allow foreign workers.

    “Again, eventually the margin supply of labor comes from the decisions of the government, and it is not for an ecosystem where you can get this kind of flexibility, and I think we really need to deal with, ” They said.

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