Manpower crunch a challenge for SMEs but foreign worker limits to stay: PM Lee

Manpower is a major concern of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here especially as the inflow of foreign workers is reduced, but the Government cannot ease up on the foreign worker limits, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday.

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Here are excerpts from PM Lee's speech at the Malay/Muslim Business Conference 2014:

"We are still allowing in more foreign workers, so the number of foreign workers here is still growing, although not as fast as before and not as much as employers and companies would like. We know that even this is still not enough, and that SMEs have to turn away business because they don't have workers to service the business."

"But unfortunately we cannot ease up on the foreign worker limits and we hope companies understand. Because we have to manage the inflow, manage what we can accommodate in Singapore, manage the total numbers.

"There are opportunities for companies. You can take advantage of lower costs, take advantage of more space there, more land there and at the same time stay close to Singapore."