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EDB attracts S$12.1b in fixed asset investments in 2013

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) met its investment commitments in 2013, attracting S$12.1 billion in fixed asset investments and S$7.8 billion in total business expenditure per year.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) met its investment commitments in 2013, attracting S$12.1 billion in fixed asset investments and S$7.8 billion in total business expenditure per year.

But it is forecasting lower investment figures for Singapore in 2014. This includes a drop in the number of skilled jobs created, from 21,400 jobs in 2013 to 14,000 and 16,000 this year.

In its annual briefing, EDB said it achieved "strong investment commitments" in the year, and expects to maintain a "steady level of investments" in 2014.

For 2014, EDB is projecting fixed asset investments of S$10 billion to S$12 billion -- close to levels achieved last year (S$12.1 billion).

Total business expenditure per annum, which includes wages and rental, is expected to come in at around S$6 billion to S$7.5 billion, compared with S$7.8 billion recorded in 2013.

EDB said this reflects continued interest in Singapore for capital and knowledge intensive investments, and the setting up of global and regional functions here.

Value-added per annum -- which includes wages and profit -- is forecasted to be between S$11.5 billion and S$13.5 billion, in contrast to S$16.7 billion in 2013.

At the same time, the number of skilled jobs created is expected to be between 14,000 and 16,000, down from the 21,400 jobs created in 2013.

EDB’s chairman Leo Yip said: "It's a steady level of investments that's in keeping with where Singapore is today, in our phase of economic development. Our cost structure is approaching that of the advanced economies, so really, the growth we seek has got to be high value added, productivity driven.

“But it's also a steady level of investments that's in keeping with our workforce growth rates and our land planning considerations."

Singapore is expecting lower investment figures in 2014. Some of this moderation is due to the manpower and land resource constraints the country is facing.

But the EDB said that to date, there has been no instance of an investment project being lost, simply because a company could not find enough manpower.

Mr Yip said: "Companies make a decision whether to invest in Singapore, to expand in Singapore based on the total business proposition that Singapore offers, and manpower being one component.

“To help companies deal with the manpower challenge, we have been proactively working with them -- ahead of their investments materialising in Singapore -- to train the pool of manpower that they need."

EDB, the government agency charged with attracting companies and investments to Singapore, also said it remains confident of Singapore's outlook and competitiveness.

It expects sustained investment interest from companies keen to tap growth opportunities in Asia, and is positive about growth areas like biologics, e-commerce, and data analytics.

In the field of analytics, for example, companies like NEC have started a research lab to develop solutions for social issues relating to public safety, infrastructure management and energy.

Keiji Yamada, senior vice president & head of NEC Laboratories Singapore, said: "We can collaborate with a lot of the government agencies to investigate social value. And also, many distinguished researchers are in Singapore, so we can collaborate with them to produce the new value."

NEC joins Shell, Samsung, DHL, Unilever, Rakuten, and REC Solar among the multinational firms that have made investments in Singapore over 2013.

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