Singapore finance minister Heng Swee Keat delivered the
Budget Statement to Parliament on February 19 2018. In his
speech, Heng Swee Keat emphasised the importance of encouraging
pervasive innovation throughout the economy and how crucial
intellectual property (IP) has become for companies competing
in a fast-paced business environment. To this end, the Budget
Statement unveiled several initiatives such as tax deductions
and funding aimed at boosting research and innovation.
To support businesses as they buy and use new solutions,
existing grants supporting the adoption of pre-scoped, off-the
shelf technologies will be merged into a single Productivity
Solutions Grant (PSG). PSGs provide funding support of up to
70% of qualifying costs. Additionally, tax deductions on
licensing payments for commercial use of IP are raised from
100% to 200% for the first S$100,000 ($76,000) of qualifying IP
in-licensing costs incurred each fiscal year.
In addition, businesses building their own innovations can
enjoy cheaper IP registration costs through tax deductions.
Such tax deductions are enhanced from 100% to 200% for the
first S$100,000 ($76,000) of qualifying IP registration costs
(for example, patenting costs) incurred each year. Also, tax
deductions for expenditures such as staff costs and consumables
incurred on research and development activities in Singapore
will be raised from 150% to 250%, capped at S$100,000 ($76,000)
per fiscal year and will be available from 2019 to 2025.
Also, to assist businesses in finding partners to co-create
solutions, the government will pilot a virtual crowdsourcing
platform called the Open Innovation Platform (OIP) where
companies can list specific challenges that can be addressed by
digital solutions. The OIP matches companies seeking solutions
for their problems with info-communications and technology
(ICT) firms or research institutes which have appropriate
expertise to co-develop solutions.
The government also seeks to harness Singapore's national
research capabilities to enhance its global economic
competitiveness. The National Research Foundation (NRF) and
Temasek Holdings will launch a S$100 million ($76 million)
investment venture called the NRF-Temasek IP Commercialisation
Vehicle. This venture will bring together Temasek's global
investment networks and NRF's connections with the local
research and development community to grow companies that
generate IP from publicly funded research.
Finally, in a bid to drive greater adoption of digital
technologies, automation and robotics, the government will
launch an Aviation Transformation Programme (ATP) and a
Maritime Transformation Programme (MTP) this year to strengthen
the nation's status as an air and sea hub. These programmes
allow Singapore's airport and seaport to become platforms for
companies to develop, test and use new technologies. The
government further provides funding of up to S$500 million
($380 million) for these two programmes with additional
matching investments from industry partners.
The launch of these initiatives by the Singapore government
during 2018 and 2019 is a welcome boost for businesses and an
incentive for increasing innovation by providing funding
support for research projects and IP acquisition.
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