Singapore Economy: Major Changes Coming up in the Budget
Singapore economy will witness an overall budget deficit of 0.7% of GDP by the end of March 2020, according to the government of Singapore. The country needs to bolster an economy that has been hard hit by a weaker global demand, but Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has said Singapore is prepared.
As per Barnabas Gan, an economist with United Overseas Bank Ltd in Singapore said “Singapore must always be pre-emptive. We are a small nation and also there’s this urgent demand for greater expenditure for healthcare in light of the aging population.”
He added that the country must prepare “for the next decade”.
Heng, while delivering the budget speech, highlighted a few major points that would boost the Singapore economy.
30% of the budget is going to be spent on defence, which includes security, physical threats and diplomacy efforts. Cybersecurity is being focused on priority and an agency is being set up to curb cyber threat.
The quota of foreign workers legally allowed in the services sector will be lowered from next year, with a concentration on local productivity in food and retail business. Grants will be extended for the next three years to provide trainings to the local Singaporean workers.
Singapore plans to build an excellent, highly-skilled technological industry and workforce. The government has put measures in place to support small businesses, including start-ups. The idea is to go digital where possible. They have an “Innovation Agents” program that includes mentors for small businesses.
Under the banner of “Innovation”, S$100 million would be set aside for firms to boost their presence outside of the country.
Support for the Elderly
Support for the elderly is important. Part of the elderly support plan will include additional funds for outpatient care, incentives for participation in long-term care programs, additional funds for public transport, and a S$ 8 billion dollar support package for all.
In addition, the government has included a S$1.1 billion bicentennial bonus. This coincides with the 20th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore.
In addition, local Singaporeans will be eligible for better personal tax rebates, more cash for families with children in school and more cash for the elderly.
Singapore is looking ahead. The country is working towards improving the Singapore economy and the budget deficit.
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