Why the need for Singapore companies to invest overseas?
In a very simple manner, to make more monies from a bigger market size.
There was a rallying call from the government under Goh’s administration for Singapore companies to go overseas. I was working for one such company who took up that challenge.
We were overcame by lack of attitude preparation to operate in a foreign market and finally succumbed to the financial crisis in the late 1990s.
Recently, Mr David Sandison in his article in BT’s “Tax alone cannot solve everything” raised the issue on overseas investment again. He said Singaporeans still need a push to get them out and about in the world, to take their businesses across borders and leave a footprint in the global sands.
Currently, incentives to venture abroad are virtually non-existent, and even less used, as they reward only failure through deductions for losses.
The interpretation of our tax schemes may be harsh. They were crafted to anticipate losses from early days of any investment.
Perhaps it is timely now to heed Mr Sandison’s call to change the approach.