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Ministries' Addenda to the President's Address - Ministry of Finance
PUBLISHED ON 09 May 2018
Ensuring a sustainable and secure future for Singapore.

In the quest to build a caring, cohesive and inclusive society, the Government has substantially increased social spending in major areas such as education, healthcare, housing, Workfare, and Silver Support, said Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat.

In his ministry’s addendum to the President’s address, he stated: “We are investing heavily in pre-school, education, and skills upgrading, to ensure that citizens have opportunities to develop their potential throughout life. We will support Singaporeans to stay healthy, make informed healthcare choices, and prepare for their healthcare needs in old age. We will also continue to expand our healthcare capacity and strengthen long-term care, while moderating the growth in healthcare costs. We will do more to strengthen our families and enable our seniors to stay active, contribute meaningfully, and age with confidence. We will promote sports, arts and heritage, philanthropy, and volunteerism, to build common interests for a stronger society.”

To achieve all these, Mr Heng said MOF will continue the emphasis on prudent spending, and build resilient and broad-based revenue sources. This will include investing the nation’s resources wisely, and using the investment returns in sustainable ways.

Opportunities amid challenges

Stressing the need to maintain a sound and sustainable fiscal system, and to ensure a balanced budget over the medium term, Mr Heng pointed out that Singapore’s fiscal position is expected to tighten considerably in the coming years, due to rising expenditures in healthcare, infrastructure, and security.

Expressing concern said that the shifts in global economic trends, ageing, and innovations brought about by technology are challenging he expressed optimism that they would present opportunities for Singapore. He added that his ministry is partnering government agencies to strengthen Singapore’s position as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation, and enterprise.

“We will partner the private sector to co-create solutions for businesses, and harness technology to improve services for businesses and citizens,” said Mr Heng, adding that MOF is also helping businesses to leverage on the growth and opportunities in the region.

Mr Heng stated that MOF is also partnering business and trade associations to expand and deepen the capabilities of Singapore workers and companies and to make innovation a pervasive feature here.

“As ASEAN Chair in 2018, we are promoting ASEAN financial integration with initiatives to sustain growth, boost resilience, and foster innovation for the region… We will invest in Strategic National Projects that lay the foundation for a Smart Nation, and strengthen our connectivity to the world.”

Staying competitive

To strengthen Singapore’s hub status, the government is also making major investments to rejuvenate ageing infrastructure, develop new districts and transport networks, and to enhance the air, sea, and land links.

On the revenue side, MOF will monitor and adjust to changes in the global environment to ensure that Singapore stays competitive and attractive for investments.

“This is why we are taking steps to strengthen our revenue position, including through an increase in the Goods and Services Tax. As we build up our revenues, we will ensure that taxes remain competitive to encourage private enterprise and individual initiative,” said Mr Heng, with the assurance that the government will continue to seek the best value for the money we spend.

The government will also leverage on Singapore’s strong financial position to optimise its borrowing, so that the ministry can invest sustainably in longer-term infrastructure that will position Singapore well for the future.

Mr Heng also assured Singaporeans that the government will continue to be good stewards of the nation’s reserves, which have helped Singapore weather shocks and crises. The strong reserves, and the returns of investments, have not only strengthened investor and market confidence, but also supported Singapore’s budgetary needs.
 

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