Alcotec Precision Engineering Pte. owner Colin Kua turned down nearly a third of his customers’ orders last year as he grappled with Singapore’s labor shortage. This year may be tougher.
“In the future it may be worse — to venture out to other countries may be the only solution,” said Kua, who had to cut the number of foreign employees making items from sockets to semiconductors by half as the government tightened the inflow of overseas workers. “We don’t really dare to bring in more orders because the manpower isn’t enough.”
Singapore’s move to reduce its reliance on cheap overseas labor and boost productivity is crimping the ability of manufacturers like Kua to produce on the island. The fallout puts the Southeast Asian nation at risk of losing out as overseas demand strengthens this year, with recoveries in the U.S. and Europe spurring the International Monetary Fund to say it will raise its global growth forecast.
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