Economy, jobs, family welfare high on Singaporean minds this budget season

An economic downturn, job security and support for families are the top three concerns of Singaporeans in 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Worries of an impending economic downturn, job security and support for families are the top three concerns of Singaporeans for this year's Budget, said Reach chairman Sam Tan on Wednesday.

This is what government feedback unit Reach has gathered from Singaporeans through its various platforms since Feb 1.

Falling oil prices, and regional geopolitical instability, such as conflicts in the Middle East and tension in the Korean peninsula, have raised concerns among Singaporeans about the economy heading southwards, said Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and Manpower.

"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 was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the pre-Budget conversation organised by the Ministry of Finance and Reach.

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

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah said that the economy supports what Singaporeans do as a whole.

So the economy, both in the short term like the yearly Budget, as well as in the long term like what the Future Economy Committee will be looking at, is on the Government's "radar".

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

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

As many as 80 Singaporeans took part in the two-and-a-half hour event at *Scape, a youth hangout next to Orchard Cineleisure.

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, to housewives and retirees. The youngest among them are in their late 20s, while the oldest are in their 70s.

Following this event, Reach will also host a Pre-Budget Facebook Question and Answer session next 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.

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