SINGAPORE, After four consecutive years of decline, Singapore secured S$9.4 billion worth of in-bound investments last year, maintaining the level seen in 2016 but with more jobs and greater value-add expected to be generated.
Meanwhile, total business expenditure (TBE) fell by more than one-fifth, from S$8.3 billion in 2016 to S$6.5 billion last year, based on the Economic Development Board of Singapore's (EDB) year-in-review report released on Tuesday (Jan 30).
The results reflect the continued confidence of global companies in Singapore as a strategic location to base key business functions driving innovation and growth, said the EDB, which noted that the in-vestment commitments in 2017 met, or exceeded, forecasts across all indicators.
EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin added that the investment commitment levels were a demonstration of Singapore's continued strength as a global business city and manufacturing hub.
The agency had earlier projected fixed assets investments (FAI) for 2017 to be between S$8 billion and S$10 billion. Once the projects are fully implemented, the investments last year are expected to create 22,500 jobs � 12 per cent higher compared with 2016.
The investments in 2017 are expected to add S$17 billion per year to the Singapore economy, higher than that of 2016 (S$12.9 billion) as well as the forecast range of between S$12 billion and S$14 billion.
In particular, investments in headquarters and professional services as well as research and development are expected to yield the highest value-add (about S$5 million), and create the most jobs (7,035). This is followed by the engineering and environmental services industry (about S$4.3 million and 3,874 jobs).
For example, in August last year, Deloitte opened its Global Centre of Excellence in Singapore, ploughing in around US$20 million (S$26.3 million) over three years. The centre aims to create solutions that anticipate market disruptions, address the skills mismatch challenge, and identify future job requirements. In April, McKinsey and Company launched its Digital Capabilities Centre here as well, which showcases advancements in emerging technologies.
On the fall in total business expenditure in 2017, the EDB said that the higher figures in 2016 were the result of several large shipyard investments. Those projects have a long investment cycle, and do not happen on a recurring basis, it added.
Going ahead, the EDB is maintaining the same FAI forecast range and total business expenditure for 2018, while expecting fewer jobs (between 16,000 and 18,000, compared with between 19,000 and 21,000 for 2017) to be generated.
EDB managing director Chng Kai Fong said the agency is cautiously optimistic about the coming year. The lower forecast for jobs creation reflects the slowing growth of the local workforce, and type of jobs expected to be generated, which will be higher skilled, higher valued, and working in higher-tech industries, said Mr Chng.
He cautioned that a major uncertainty in 2018 is the impact of the United States tax reforms. Based on the EDB's preliminary assessment, it could be harder (for Singapore) to attract investments that are meant to supply into the US, he added.
Asked by reporters if the upcoming Budget measures � including possible tax hikes � had an impact on the forecasts for the coming year, Dr Beh said these were not taken into account as they will take time to implement.
Looking ahead, Mr Beh said the EDB will continue to focus on industry transformation, and help com-panies stay competitive through the adoption of, and innovation in, advanced manufacturing, and digital technologies. -- NNN-TODAY
Source: NAM News Network