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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bottoming out soon?

THE Singapore economy could reach a bottom within the next six months, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said at the Singapore Business Awards (SBA) on Tuesday.

'On current indications, we expect to see a bottom in the economy within the next two quarters,' he told business leaders at the Shangri-La Hotel.

'But growth thereafter is likely to remain weak till at least the end of the year, and possibly 2010 as well if there are no clear signs of recovery in the global economy,' said Mr Tharman.

Although the downturn is likely to be 'our deepest recession', he is confident that Singapore can weather the storm, even if it lasts for some time.

'We will emerge from this crisis fitter and stronger, as we have done before.'

The Government will also do its part to help businesses by reducing administrative speed-bumps and removing regulatory roadblocks wherever possible.

He cited an initiative introduced last April allowing firms to file just one full set of financial statements with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, and not have to repeat the process with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

He said a similar initiative is in the works that includes private sector partners such as the Singapore Exchange.

Mr Tharman was the guest of honour at the awards - organised by The Business Times and DHL Express.

While the awards come during one of the most severe downturns to hit Singapore, this year's winners are taking the crisis as an opportunity.

Read the full story in today's edition of The Straits Times.

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