Singaporeans' key issues for Budget: Economy, jobs

The economy, job security and support for families are the top three issues Singaporeans have for the Budget.
The economy, job security and support for families are the top three issues Singaporeans have for the Budget.PHOTO: ST FILE

Worries about family welfare also among main concerns, says Reach chairman

Worries of an economic downturn, concerns over job security and support for families are the top three issues Singaporeans have for the Budget, said Reach chairman Sam Tan last night.

The concerns have emerged 2-1/2 weeks into the Budget feedback exercise conducted by Reach, the government feedback unit.

About 70 people took part in last night's 2-1/2 hour Pre-Budget Conversation organised by the Finance Ministry and Reach.

They discussed issues such as skills training for Singaporeans, growing Singapore companies through innovation and helping vulnerable groups such as the old and the needy.

The participants ranged from professionals to business owners, homemakers to retirees.

Mr Tan noted that general themes have emerged over the weeks, centred on concerns that falling oil prices and conflicts in the Middle East, and tension in the Korean peninsula could hurt the local economy.

"Singaporeans hope that the Government could spend some time to work out some short-term economic packages to help businesses should the downturn happen," he said. Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and Manpower Ministry, was speaking last night on the sidelines of the event.

Singaporeans also hope to hear something about job stability and security in the Budget as well as support for young couples with small children, retirees and single parents, he added.

Ms Indranee Rajah, the Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, said the economy supports what Singaporeans do as a whole so it will be on the Government's "radar".

"Jobs are also on top of our priorities," said Ms Indranee, adding that ensuring that there are good jobs for Singaporeans and skills upgrading are key.

On the social front, the Government will redistribute resources to those who are disadvantaged and make sure that they get what they need, she added.

Reach will also host a Pre-Budget Facebook question-and-answer session on Monday, from 12.30pm to 2pm. It will be chaired by Mr Liang Eng Hwa, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, and committee member Sun Xueling.

The Budget feedback exercise will end on Feb 26 with the Budget to be presented by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on March 24.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'S'poreans' key issues for Budget: Economy, jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe