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Welcome address by ISCA President Mr Kon Yin Tong at the ISCA Budget Update Seminar 2021 Live Webinar on 18 March 2021

Distinguished Speakers and Panelists

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning


Welcome to the ISCA Budget Update Seminar 2021 Live Webinar, the first instalment of ISCA’s Singapore Accountancy and Audit Conference (SAAC) series. As with last year, the format of the seminar has been changed to a Live Webinar, in view of the on-going COVID-19 situation.

We are pleased to have leading experts who will share their views with us on Budget 2021 today. Prof Sum Yee Loong, Professor of Accounting (Practice) at the Singapore Management University, will share more details on the 2021 Budget and its tax implications. Mr Irvin Seah, Executive Director for Group Research at DBS Bank, will share more on the economic outlook and his analysis of Budget 2021.

We will end with a panel discussion featuring Prof Sum, Mr Seah, Mr Kurt Wee, President of the Association of Small & Medium Enterprises and Mr Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore. The panel discussion will be moderated by Mr Chris Woo, Board Member of Singapore Chartered Tax Professionals and Tax Leader of PwC Singapore.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat unveiled Budget 2021, with the theme of "Emerging Stronger Together", about a month ago. Besides helping the nation tackle the immediate challenges arising from COVID-19, Budget 2021 aims to accelerate structural adaptations in the long term.

The $107 billion Budget includes some key areas. Firstly, the $11 billion COVID-19 Resilience Package will address Singapore’s immediate needs to safeguard public health as well as provide targeted support to workers and sectors that are still under stress. Secondly, over the next three years,

$24 billion will be allocated to facilitate economic and workforce transformation, enabling firms and workers to emerge stronger from the pandemic. Thirdly, the $900 million Household Support Package will provide financial aid to families in the form of vouchers and rebates, with lower- to middle-income families receiving more support. Lastly, the Green Plan 2030 will advance the national agenda on sustainable development.

Doing our part as the national accountancy body, ISCA, too, has been ramping up our efforts to support our members amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, we launched the ISCA Support Fund, to help the accountancy profession emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic and seize opportunities arising in the New Normal.

Worth $8 million, the fund comprises a holistic set of initiatives, catering to the differing needs of SMPs and accountancy professionals amid the current economic climate.

The ISCA Support Fund has three strategic thrusts – Support Businesses, Sustain Livelihoods of Accountancy Professionals and Safeguard Professional Credentials.

To support businesses, $3 million will go towards supporting SMPs in the three pillars of business growth, capability upgrading and business sustenance. This amount is supported by Enterprise Singapore (or ESG). Through its SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience (or STEER) programme, ESG will match $1 for every $2 contributed by ISCA to help strengthen and transform businesses. SMPs can tap the ISCA Support Fund to accelerate their digital transformation and upskilling efforts via curated digital solutions and certification programmes. The fund also provides working capital to SMPs facing cashflow issues.

To sustain the livelihoods of accountancy professionals, another $3 million will go towards reskilling and upskilling ISCA members for the post-COVID-19 environment. Each ISCA member will receive $100 in the form of a Continuous Professional Education (or CPE) voucher to offset their training costs. 

In such economically challenging times, it is inevitable that some members may face job losses. To support members who are facing financial hardship, ISCA has set aside $2 million for membership fee waivers. In view of the current climate, ISCA has also relaxed our eligibility criteria for membership fee waivers. By doing so, we enable members to retain their internationally-recognised CA (Singapore) professional credential, which is important in maintaining their employability in an especially competitive job market.

Each member facing financial hardship will also receive 20 complimentary hours of continuing professional development training. This enables our members to acquire new skills that enhance their employability.

The pace of digital transformation will only continue unabated, and the profession must adapt to this new reality. I encourage our members to upskill and reskill, to keep pace with the evolving labour market demands. Our eLearning Space has more than 500 webinars and more than 300 eLearning courses in diverse topics.  ISCA will continue to expand our repertoire of courses, especially those in high-growth areas such as compliance and digital finance.

Do make full use of ISCA’s suite of support schemes and resources. Use this time to upgrade your skills and identify new business opportunities, so that you can emerge stronger and be ready for the post-COVID-19 environment. 

May you have a fruitful and enjoyable time at today’s seminar.

Thank you.