SINGAPORE - The government will try to bring business costs down, but firms here need to adapt to the new reality of a higher-cost environment - and there are reasons to believe that companies can make the transition.
This was the message delivered by Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Finance and Transport, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the Enterprise 50 (E50) awards luncheon held yesterday at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre.
Later in the evening, the E50 awards gala dinner was attended by 1,300 guests including overall winner contractor Lian Soon Construction.
The property and construction sector did well at the awards and S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, elaborated further on Mrs Teo's theme.
He said that the government was "committed to helping local companies make the transition" to the new environment.
The enterprises, in turn, would have to be "adept and agile" to seize their opportunities and succeed.
Mrs Teo had set the stage, saying that Singapore no longer provided a low-cost business environment.
"Cost can be a barrier to starting up, and cost can also be a barrier to start-ups growing to a certain scale and size.
And so this cost is not a trivial matter.
We have to examine it carefully, and try to bring it down as much as possible.