Singapore

GST hike seeks to balance competitiveness and inclusivity: Tharman

The planned increase in the goods and services tax (GST) in Singapore reflects the balance between staying competitive and staying inclusive, and in particular, being able to afford the quality healthcare that an ageing population needs, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

"The Budget announcement of a future increase in GST from seven to nine per cent is a part of the balance that we are striking," he said at a forum in Jakarta yesterday.

Mr Tharman added: "That balance between staying competitive, ensuring that we can grow at a sustainable pace, but at the same time staying inclusive, and in particular, being able to afford the quality healthcare that an ageing population needs - that's foremost on our minds."

DPM Tharman said Singapore can do so in a way that is fair both to the poor and middle class, and those who are better-off will "one way or another have to pay more over time. But we want to do it in a way that doesn't hurt our competitiveness".

Mr Tharman was speaking at a conference organised by Bank Indonesia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Other panellists included IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Australia's former deputy premier and federal treasurer Wayne Swan.

The event is part of the lead-up to October's IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali.

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Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.

Singapore Politics