The annual parliamentary debate on the Budget Statement started on March 3, a week after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam presented the Budget. What are the new schemes and initiatives announced by the various ministries during the debate? Assistant Political Editor Rachel Chang highlights the key measures you need to know.
1. The SkillsFuture initiative to give adult Singaporeans credits for lifelong learning. The credits will cost the Government $1 billion over 2016 to 2020
2. $740 million will be poured into revamping the Civic District, from setting up the new National Gallery Singapore to refurbishing the National Museum and the Esplanade forecourt
3. $450 million for the second edition of the Construction Productivity Roadmap to help construction companies work more efficiently
4. The Silver Support Scheme to give the poorest elderly a basic pension for the rest of their lives. The average recipient will get $600 every three months. It will cost the Government $350 million in its first year, but this amount is likely to grow over time
5. $160 million more in the Aviation Development Fund to help airlines and ground handlers boost productivity
6. $16 million more to voluntary welfare organisations, with the bulk of this for ensuring that social workers are paid competitively
7. The National Monuments Fund will be doubled to $12 million to help with costs of restoring and maintaining such buildings
8. 2,400 new childcare places to be made available over the next few years – on top of the 20,000 new places already scheduled by 2017 – through the creation of large new centres that can admit up to 500 kids.
9. A new Cybercrime Command unit to be set up under the Criminal Investigation Department to combat online wrongdoing
10. Ten new hawker centres to be built by 2027, bringing the total in the pipeline to 20 hawker centres with 800 food stalls. They will be located in areas like Bidadari, Sengkang and Bukit Batok.
11. A third desalination plant to be built in Tuas by 2017. With this, Singapore can produce 130 million gallons of water per day from seawater.
12. The Medisave minimum sum will be axed, while the maximum sum, to be renamed “Basic Healthcare Sum,” will be fixed at each cohort aged 65
13. A nationwide survey to assess Singapore's landmarks, sites of historical significance and cultural traditions will be launched soon to better preserve the country's heritage