Still much work to do at Finance Ministry, says Heng

Mr Heng Swee Keat would be "happy to continue" as Finance Minister following the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle, he said at a media briefing yesterday.

He added that there is still much work to be done at his ministry given the fiscal challenges Singapore is facing.

The minister was responding to queries on whether he is likely to hold on to his portfolio after the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

"I'll be very happy to continue my job as Finance Minister. There are many things that we need to do as I announced in the Budget," he said.

Mr Heng is among the three fourth-generation ministers touted to be in the running to become Singapore's next prime minister. The other two are Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing; and Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung.

Before his appointment as Finance Minister in October 2015, Mr Heng was the education minister from May 2011 to September 2015.

He said the Finance Ministry will be kept busy in the coming years dealing with the challenges of allocating Singapore's limited fiscal resources.

"There are important expenditure needs that we need to provide for," he noted.

"We want to be able to make the best use of our resources to achieve economic and social impact, while maintaining a high level of security. Allocating the Budget across these different areas is a major challenge."

He "would like to give more thought" to these issues, the minister said.

Singapore as well as other countries around the world are also devoting more attention to international tax revenue collection, Mr Heng added.

Chia Yan Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2018, with the headline 'Still much work to do at Finance Ministry, says Heng'. Print Edition | Subscribe