Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in light of the price of water having increased by 30% effective July 2018 (a) what has been the feedback from industries and businesses with high water usage; and (b) how can the Government help to address the impact on the challenges faced by our industries and businesses in respect of the SMEs' competitiveness.
Oral reply (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat)
- Government economic agencies regularly engage businesses and monitor feedback on the cost of doing business. This includes costs arising from both external and domestic price developments.
- As overall business costs include components such as labour and rental, the costs of water and electricity constitute a small percentage of total business costs for most companies. The rise in water price since July 2017 is estimated to increase total business costs in the chemicals industry by 0.10 per cent, general manufacturing industry by 0.12 per cent, accommodation industry by 0.17 per cent, and the food services industry by 0.26 per cent.
- Government agencies have been working with our industry partners to help companies reduce their water usage, which will reduce their water bills. For instance, EDB and PUB are working with businesses to implement water efficiency measures and to tap on alternative sources of water, such as seawater, for process cooling. The Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association is exploring a partnership with the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore to adopt food waste digesters for water recycling.
- Businesses looking to improve water efficiency can tap on PUB’s Water Efficiency Fund to implement water saving measures. For more customised capability building solutions, including the adoption of water efficiency standards, businesses may tap on Enterprise Singapore’s Capability Development Grant (CDG), which defrays up to 70 per cent of qualifying project costs.
- I encourage businesses to use the available schemes and adopt measures to save water and improve productivity. And if you are successful in achieving cost savings, you can then share some of these savings with your workers and customers.