Welcome to today’s seminar, titled “Budget 2018: How does it Affect You?”. Singapore has been preparing for three major shifts: the first being a shift in global economic weight towards Asia; second, the emergence of new technologies; and third, Singapore’s ageing population. Budget 2018 addresses these factors by setting a targeted strategy for the next decade, especially for businesses to move away from cost competition and to differentiate via innovation.
Some observers have described this year’s Budget as well-calibrated and strategic. Businesses, households, workers and the wider community all stand to gain from the Budget this year. Emphasis was placed on economic and digital transformation, support for businesses and workers, building new capabilities in firms, forging strong partnerships locally and abroad, and building a smart, sustainable nation.
Budget 2018 reflects the Singapore government's consistent message to its people and businesses to embrace technology and continuously upskill to remain relevant.
The Government has also extended the Wage Credit Scheme for an additional three years till 2020, with gradually reduced levels of co-funding. The scheme aims to encourage employers to share productivity gains with staff.
To encourage philanthropy, approved donations made to Institutions of Public Character, or IPCs in short, and other qualifying recipients qualify for an enhanced tax deduction of 250%. It has been announced that this tax deduction will be extended for another three years.
At this juncture, I would like to give a shout-out to ISCA Cares, our charity which has been accorded IPC status. We value education as one of most important keys to a better life. With your donations and support, ISCA Cares has been able to reach out to many needy Singapore youths with academic potential to gain access to quality accountancy education.
Last year, which was the second year since the ISCA Cares Education Programme started, there were 29 recipients of the ISCA Cares bursary. With the increased donations, we were also able to offer the bursary to four beneficiaries for the second time, and provide them sustained support. We hope to reach out to more youths in need, and hope the generous tax deduction will encourage you to donate generously towards a worthy cause.
With the commentary on Budget 2018 we have read and heard in the news so far, I believe that our panel of experts today will have very thought-provoking views to share.
Today’s Budget Update Seminar is the first of ISCA’s Singapore Accountancy and Audit Conference series this year, targeted at different segments of our members. This will be followed by the ISCA Practitioners Conference, for public accountants and audit professionals. The conference will bring to the forefront hot topics and issues in areas such as accounting, auditing, technology and cybersecurity.
In the second half of this year, we will organise a conference for ISCA Professional Accountants in Business. The conference aims to provide participants with updates on the latest accounting, ethics and technology topics, and is a platform for Professional Accountants in Business from different industries to network and exchange ideas. Rounding off the series is a Technology Conference at the year-end. The conference will showcase the latest innovative solutions impacting the accounting and finance industries.
Do keep a lookout for these events in the months to come.
The Budget Update seminar is one of ISCA’s most well-attended events. Prof Sum Yee Loong will be delivering his presentation on the 2018 Budget Update and its Tax Implications, in his usual engaging style. Mr Suan Teck Kin, Head of Global Economics & Market Research at UOB will also be presenting the Economic Outlook and Analysis of 2018 Budget. Last but not least is the panel discussion with our distinguished industry leaders.
May you have a fruitful and enjoyable session today. Thank you.
A Budget for the future; KPMG Singapore Budget 2018 Report, 20 Feb 2018
6 things for HR directors to know about Singapore Budget 2018; Human Resources Online, 20 Feb 2018
Singapore Budget 2018: Well-calibrated, will help lift wages, say Money FM 89.3 panellists; The Straits Times, 20 Feb 2018
Singapore Budget 2018: S$190m yearly to boost philanthropy; The Business Times, 20 Feb 2018