Higlights of Singapore’s new $104bn budget

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong has delivered the Budget 2023 speech, where the government aims to invest around S$104.2bn in various sectors to transform the country into a new era of global development. Wong notes that the global economy will enter a stage of greater fragmentation and contestation where countries will focus more on national gain and security, which will be less hospitable to smaller economies like Singapore.

He added that Singapore needs to adjust to this new era by repositioning its economy and refreshing its social compact for the future. To enhance the country’s overall productivity and workforce quality, the government plans to allocate S$4bn for the National Productivity Fund, and expand its scope to cover investment promotion, anchor quality investments, and encourage innovation activities.

The government will also add S$150mn to the SME Co-Investment Fund to invest in promising small- and medium-sized enterprises and enhance the Singapore Global Enterprises initiative by S$1bn. Additionally, the government will focus on job-skills integrators, who will work with industry, training and employment facilitation partners.

Budget 2023 will set aside an additional S$1.6bn for the Assurance Package, to help Singaporeans cope with inflation and cushion the impact of the rising Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates. The package will also benefit around 2.5 million adult Singaporeans with a one-off cost-of-living special payment.

The government also announced that it will extend the Senior Employment Credit and the Part-time Re-employment Grant until 2025, add S$2.4bn to the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme, and introduce a new Uplifting Employment Credit for employers who hire ex-offenders. The Budget 2023 speech also highlighted the need to support families with the costs of raising children, manage their various commitments, and support their housing aspirations.

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