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Investment levels in 2016 to 'remain moderate': EDB

In its 2015 Year-In-Review, the Economic Development Board says that investment commitments to Singapore last year were largely in line with expectations. 

SINGAPORE: Investment levels in the Republic are expected to "remain moderate" due to uncertain global economic conditions, the Economic Development Board (EDB) announced on Tuesday (Feb 2).

In the 2015 Year-in-Review press conference, EDB said that it will continue with its targeted approach to promote investments, as Singapore shifts from a value-adding to a value-creating economy. 

Robotics is among the areas targeted by EDB, as it continues to find ways to seize new manufacturing opportunities.

According to EDB's managing director, Yeoh Keat Chuan, EDB has several roles.

“One is to promote companies that are already here or thinking about investment in Asia to set up factories of the future, which are advanced manufacturing highly automated facilities. We expect more of these investments.

“Second, we would expect to see robotic companies having an interest to develop solutions for the very established manufacturing base we have in Singapore. We hope to be able to capitalise on this opportunity to see growth in the robotics sector as well."

In the yearly review, EDB forecast Fixed Asset Investments in 2016 to be between S$8 billion and S$10 billion. Meanwhile, Total Business Expenditure Per Annum is expected to be between S$5.5 billion and S$6.5 billion.

Total Business Expenditure Per Annum refers to commitments by firms setting up regional headquarters, R&D labs and other facilities in Singapore. In return for tax breaks, the firms must agree to spend a certain amount of money on salaries, rent, local procurement, among other things, each year. Fixed asset investment refers to a firm's additional investment in facilities, equipment and machinery.

Meanwhile, Expected Value-Added Per Annum for 2016 - how much investments will add to the GDP when fully realised - is between S$12 billion and S$14 billion, said EDB.

Going forward, the agency said weak global demand is likely to continue affecting Singapore's manufacturing output but it is confident of the sector's underlying health. It will continue to explore ways to tap new manufacturing opportunities, such as robotics, it added.

2015 IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS

For 2015, investment commitments to Singapore were largely in line with expectations, said the agency. 

In its yearly review, EDB attracted S$11.5 billion in fixed asset investment, edging above its forecast of S$9 billion to S$11 billion. Chemicals accounted for the largest portion of fixed asset investment at 31.3 per cent, followed by electronics with 28.6 per cent.

Total Business Expenditure Per Annum came in at S$5.6 billion, within the forecast range of S$5.5 billion to S$6.5 billion. Expected Value-Added Per Annum, or contribution to GDP, was S$12.3 billion, at the high end of EDB's forecast of between S$11 billion and S$13 billion.

When projects are fully implemented, EDB expects these commitments to create 16,800 jobs, it added. For 2016, 20,000 to 22,000 jobs are expected to be created, it added. 

CONNECTING LOCAL ENTERPRISES WITH MULTINATIONALS

EDB also said it is looking to connect local enterprises with multinationals, as part of efforts to grow the local base.

Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of EDB, said: "One of the differentiating advantages of operating in Singapore is the sheer presence of so many globally leading companies in one city, from different sectors, and that provides opportunities for cross-sector partnerships.

“It provides opportunities for our local companies to partner with these MNCs as they move out into the region. It provides a lot of opportunities for a lot of the start-ups that are forming in Singapore to access international companies, who can become their first and launch customers. And in that way provide a track record for start-ups so they can scale quickly."