GDP growth forecast up, PM Lee says Govt to do more to build fair society

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong records his National Day message at Safra Toa Payoh on Aug 3, 2013. The Singapore economy is holding steady and is likely to grow a faster than expected 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, said Mr Lee. -- FILE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong records his National Day message at Safra Toa Payoh on Aug 3, 2013. The Singapore economy is holding steady and is likely to grow a faster than expected 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, said Mr Lee. -- FILE PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION

The Singapore economy is holding steady and is likely to grow faster than expected 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The full year GDP growth figure was revised upwards from 1 to 3 per cent, as the economy expanded 2 per cent in the first half of the year.

"The economy is holding steady amidst global uncertainties. We are attracting more quality investments. Unemployment remains low," said Mr Lee in his National Day message.

He added that Singapore must maintain investor confidence and keep Singapore open for business even as it tightens up on foreign workers and immigration.

The Prime Minister also signalled a shift in Singapore's approach to nation building, saying that the Government will play a bigger role to build a fair and just society.

It will help everyone succeed, as Singapore and the world experience changes in society and more pressure from technology on jobs and incomes.

Outlining the thinking behind expected policy changes later this month, PM Lee said the Government will do more to help children from less well off families get off to a good start from pre-school, help the elderly cope with healthcare costs, help every family own an HDB flat, and give low-income workers a better deal through the Workfare income supplement scheme.

"In Singapore, everyone will always have a stake in this country, and ample chances to make good in life," he said.