|Jobs Credit scheme most helpful: survey|
|Saturday, 21 March 2009 08:00|
In a post-Budget survey last month, SCCCI asked its 131 trade association members which of 12 key Budget initiatives they 'considered most beneficial'.
The survey, which drew a 90 per cent response rate, showed the Jobs Credit scheme was warmly received by 78 per cent of respondents.
In contrast, only a third of respondents rated another Budget initiative - the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR), which employers can tap to upgrade workers' skills - to be significantly helpful.
SCCCI said: 'In all likelihood, the drastic changes in the global economic landscape prompted most respondents from trade associations to stay focused on dealing with the immediate challenges rather than preparing for the economic rebound.'
Also favoured by SCCCI members were measures such as corporate tax cuts, rental rebates and property tax rebates, which drew a 70 per cent-plus response.
For three-quarters of respondents, the greatest challenge now is coping with the fall in demand. The next biggest problems are rising business costs (68 per cent) and difficulty in getting a bank loan (42 per cent).
SCCCI said the survey respondents indicated that banks remain cautious about lending, despite the government's efforts to share the risk on loans.
The survey also revealed requests from respondents for more government help to ease business costs - specifically, relaxed application criteria and procedures for S-pass and a cut in the foreign worker levy.
Other items on the trade associations' wish-lists include lower transport costs via reduced ERP charges, greater flexibility in COE prices for goods vehicles and buses and government reconsideration of a GST cut to boost spending.
By TEH SHI NING