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Why It Matters

Budget to flesh out CFE ideas

Budget 2017, which will be delivered in Parliament on Monday, will likely be one for the history books, arguably more so than many others that have gone before it.

Coming just after the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) released its report last week, this Budget will set out some of the first steps Singapore will take to secure an economy founded on inclusive and sustainable growth.

The CFE put forth seven strategies that it believed would put Singapore in a good position to face challenges such as rapid technological change, subdued global growth and rising anti-globalisation.

In sum, the committee said Singapore must remain open and connected to the world, help its people acquire skills for jobs of the future, and ensure its companies scale up for a challenging climate through innovation and transformation.

These are hardly new ideas, but the combined heft of the recommendations outlined in the CFE's report underscores the importance of these principles for Singapore's future.

 

"Outlined" is the key word here.

While the CFE proposed several ideas - such as a review and reform of Singapore's tax policies to make them more progressive and pro-growth, and increased support for local enterprises - it did not flesh out many details on how such ideas would be implemented.

This is where the Budget comes in.

Economists expect that it will be especially skewed towards supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and workers keen on upgrading their skills.

The emphasis on remaining open and connected means that public infrastructure investment is also expected to remain strong, they say.

However, social transfer schemes might take a pause this year after sharp increases in previous years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Budget to flesh out CFE ideas'. Print Edition | Subscribe