Singapore's budget follows up on long-term economic strategy

Singapore's budget follows up on long-term economic strategy
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The following are some highlights of Singapore's budget proposals for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

The budget statement comes after a key advisory panel this month proposed a 10-year strategy aimed at ensuring annual economic growth of 2-3 per cent. The strategy is mainly centred on trade partnerships, deepening the workforce's tech skills and digitalising the economy.

It also comes at a time when labour market conditions have worsened amid lacklustre economic growth, with job redundancies in 2016 hitting a seven-year high and total employment recording the smallest increase in 13 years.

Singapore posted its fastest growth in more than six years in the fourth quarter, expanding at an annualised 12.3 per cent from the previous three months. But full-year growth in 2016 remained anaemic at 2.0 per cent.

Budget forecasts

- 2017/18 expenditures expected at be higher than current year's by $3.7 billion, or 5.2 per cent.

- 2017 budget surplus expected to be $1.9 billion, or 0.4 per cent of GDP.

Infrastructure

 - Government will bring forward $700 million of public sector infrastructure projects.

Economy/companies

-Singapore will take steps to help weak marine, construction sectors.

- The government is deferring announced foreign worker levy increases in marine and process sectors, will proceed with hikes for construction.

- Government to help firms invest in digital capabilities.

- State commits up to $600 million to help firms scale up and internationalise.

- Government will put aside $2.4 billion over four years to implement strategies proposed by the Committee on the Future Economy.

- It will also top up national research fund by $500 million and national productivity fund by $1 billion.

Taxes

- $310 million to be set aside for corporate tax rebates in 2017, 2018.

- Taxpayers to get personal income tax rebate of 20 per cent of tax payable, capped at $500, for assessments in 2017.

Environment

- A carbon tax on direct emitters such as power stations will be introduced from 2019. It is looking at a carbon tax rate of $10-20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.

- Water prices will increase by 30 per cent in two phases, beginning July 1, 2017.

Help to households

- On top of other measures, the government will provide support of over $850 million to help households meet expenses.

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Budget 2017
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