Budget 2017 aims for innovation
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivers Budget in Parliament, reveals actions to help businesses, workers and families
We are on the cusp of major global shifts. The pace of change is increasing. Rapid technological advances are disrupting businesses and jobs.
It is therefore critical to take decisive action to re-position ourselves for the future, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat when he delivered the Budget in Parliament yesterday.
"We will take a learning and adaptive approach, try new methods, continue with them when they work well, cut losses when they do not, and draw on feedback and experience to adjust and refine our plans. That is the Singapore way," he said.
Outlining the Republic's sluggish economic landscape, he introduced a series of measures to help businesses, workers and families manage the transition while learning how to stay competitive.
Other than extending or enhancing existing measures like the Wage Credit Scheme, the Government will also introduce an "Attach and Train" initiative for sectors with good growth prospects but where companies may not be able to hire yet.
"Instead, industry partners can send participants for training and work attachments. This will increase the chances of these workers finding a job in the sector later," he said.
Looking to the medium and long term, he emphasised the importance of building capacity for the future economy, incorporating ideas from the Committee of Future Economy.
"As we mature as an economy, we must compete on the quality and novelty of our ideas, and our ability to create value. We need to build a strong innovation and enterprise engine, to complement our traditional strengths in efficiency and speed," he said.
On the whole, Budget 2017 will help the economy transform and build social resilience.
"We will do all this while maintaining fiscal discipline.
"This will lay a sustainable foundation for future generations to thrive. Our future is full of promise," said Mr Heng, as he listed Singaporeans such as Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu, gold medallist in Rio last year, and Young Chef Olympiad 2017 winner Mathew Tham, who have put the little red dot on the world map.
"This strong, can-do spirit will serve us well in the years ahead," he said.
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY