Singapore Budget 2024: A User-Friendly Guide For SMEs

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hey there Singaporean businesses, especially the awesome small and medium ones (SMEs)!

The 2024 Budget, unveiled in February, is like a big thumbs-up from the government, especially for you! They understand that rising costs can be tough, and that’s why they’ve come up with some fantastic initiatives to help you weather the storm and watch your business flourish.

Giving Your Business a Financial Boost:

Think of the S$1.3 billion Enterprise Support Package as a giant hug from the government, helping SMEs manage the rising costs. Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • Lower Taxes (up to S$40,000): This means more of your hard-earned cash stays in your pocket, freeing up resources for important things. Say your taxable income is S$100,000. Under this initiative, you could potentially save S$20,000 on taxes! It’s like getting an extra 20% off your tax bill, giving you more breathing room to invest in your business.
  • Cash Payment (S$2,000 minimum): Did you hire local workers in 2023? Congratulations! This money comes directly to you, supporting your payroll expenses and encouraging local hiring, which is a win-win for everyone. It’s like a little bonus of S$2,000, or more depending on your workforce size, to help you manage your payroll and support the local community.

Making Borrowing a Breeze:

Need some extra cash for everyday expenses, buying supplies, or handling short-term needs? Don’t worry, the budget has got you covered!

  • Bigger Loans (up to S$500,000): The increased EFS Working Capital Loan quantum allows you to borrow more money. Previously, the maximum loan was S$300,000. Now, it’s been increased to S$500,000, giving you greater access to funds for daily operations, buying supplies, and handling short-term needs. It’s like having a bigger credit line at the bank, allowing you to manage your finances with more flexibility.
  • Longer Trade Loans (until March 2025): This provides smoother sailing for your import and export operations. You get more time to repay loans for buying and selling things internationally. This extension applies to the EFS Trade Loan, which previously had an enhanced maximum loan quantum of S$10 million set to expire in March 2024. Now, you have until March 2025 to repay these loans, making cash flow management easier. It’s like having an extended payment deadline on your international purchases, giving you more breathing room.

Going Green and Saving Green:

Want to be more sustainable and save on energy bills while you’re at it? The government supports your eco-friendly goals!

  • Loans for Eco-friendly Solutions: You can get grants to buy equipment that uses less energy, making your business greener and saving you money in the long run. The Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) offers support through business grants. You can apply for these grants until the end of March 2026. This enhanced scheme offers two tiers of support:

Working Together and Learning New Things:

Ever wanted to team up with other businesses and explore new possibilities? The expanded PACT scheme is like a matchmaker for businesses! Now you can partner up with other companies to:

  • Boost Capability Training: Get access to expertise and resources from established companies. This helps you develop essential skills and knowledge to boost your operational efficiency and competitiveness. It’s like having access to mentors from top companies, giving your team a competitive edge!
  • Expand Internationally: Partner up with other companies to expand your reach and explore new markets, taking your business global! It’s like saying “hello” to new opportunities and growing your customer base worldwide. Think of partnering with a company in another country to reach new customers and expand your market share.
  • Explore Corporate Venturing: Collaborate with larger companies on joint ventures or explore new business opportunities together, fostering innovation and potential breakthroughs. Imagine collaborating with a bigger company to develop a new product or service, reaching a wider audience, and achieving something bigger than you could alone.

Helping Your Workers Thrive:

Investing in your employees is key to a thriving business! The budget recognizes this and offers some support:

  • More Money for Low-Wage Workers (Workfare): Workers who earn less get more help from the government, ensuring they can live comfortably while contributing to the economy. The budget proposes enhancements to the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (WIS), which provides additional income support for lower-wage workers. The exact details haven’t been announced yet, but they are expected to be S$100 to S$300 more per month for eligible workers. This can significantly improve the livelihoods of low-wage earners and contribute to a fairer and more inclusive society.
  • Businesses Get Help to Raise Wages (PWCS): The government provides financial support to businesses who increase wages for low-wage workers, making things fairer for everyone. The Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) co-funds wage increases for low-wage workers, incentivizing businesses to raise wages and improve worker well-being. The 2024 Budget proposes an increase in the overall funding levels for the PWCS, offering businesses more financial support to raise wages and contribute to a more sustainable wage growth trajectory. This can potentially attract and retain skilled talent, benefiting both businesses and their employees. The specific details of the increased funding haven’t been announced, but it’s expected to provide greater support for businesses looking to raise wages and contribute to closing the wage gap.

Changes to Employee Benefits (CPF): As mentioned earlier, the CPF system is undergoing some changes. Be sure to stay updated and consult a professional like an accountant or HR consultant if needed.

Remember, There’s More!

This guide has highlighted key aspects of the budget, but there’s even more to explore:

  • Upskilling and Reskilling Programs: The government offers programs to help businesses train their employees in relevant skills. This is a great way to invest in your workforce and stay ahead of the curve! Explore these programs to identify opportunities to enhance your employees’ skillsets and future-proof your business.
  • Wage Support Scheme (WSS) Updates: Stay informed about how the evolving WSS criteria might affect your payroll costs. The Wage Support Scheme (WSS), introduced to provide temporary wage support during the COVID-19 pandemic, is gradually being withdrawn. It’s crucial to stay updated on the latest WSS guidelines to ensure you’re managing your payroll costs effectively.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: The government is introducing broader sustainability initiatives across various sectors. Explore these initiatives to see if they align with your business values and operations. Implementing sustainable practices can not only benefit the environment but potentially enhance your brand image and attract eco-conscious customers.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If you feel overwhelmed by the information, seeking advice from qualified professionals like accountants, financial advisors, or lawyers can be incredibly helpful. They can guide you through the intricacies of the budget, answer your specific questions, and ensure you’re taking full advantage of the available opportunities and complying with any relevant regulations.

The Bottom Line:

The 2024 Budget is your partner in facing challenges and achieving sustainable growth. By understanding the key points, exploring all the options available, and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can navigate the ever-changing economic landscape and ensure your SME thrives. Remember, continuous learning, staying informed, and adapting to new developments are crucial for your success. For the most up-to-date information straight from the source, check out the official Singapore Budget website. Together, let’s make Singapore’s SMEs even stronger!

Stay ahead of the curve with more valuable updates and resources right here in The Vox of Talenox!

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