PM Lee: Budget a strategic financial plan to build a better future
This year's Budget is "a strategic and integrated financial plan to build us a better future together", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
He shared his thoughts in a Facebook post a day after Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled Budget 2018 in Parliament.
Mr Heng outlined four major moves for Singapore to tackle future challenges and seize opportunities. They are: building a vibrant and innovative economy; developing a smart, green and liveable city; fostering a caring and cohesive society; and ensuring a fiscally sustainable and secure future.
Mr Lee said that for the economy to be vigorous and innovative, it is crucial for businesses to grow.
He assured companies that the Government will support them to grow and expand overseas, saying that they will receive grants to innovate and build their capabilities.
This means continuing efforts to help them and workers develop digital capabilities and skills to adapt to the digital economy, he added.
To build a smart, green and liveable city, Singapore has to reduce its carbon footprint, Mr Lee said.
The new carbon tax, at $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, is meant to encourage industries and consumers to cut back on emissions, he added.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the establishment of the Silver Generation Office to better look after the elderly as they age.
Mr Lee also noted that government spending will rise, especially in healthcare, infrastructure and security.
Thus, while Singapore is on a sound fiscal footing, "we must plan ahead to ensure we can always afford to spend what we need".
On the plan to raise thegoods and services tax from 7 per cent to 9 per cent some time between 2021 and 2025, he said it will be done in a "fair and progressive" manner. He added: "We will help households to cope with this change, especially poorer households."