Budget 2018 lays out Government's mid- to long-term plans clearly: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Mr Lee (above, in a file photo) commented on the need to push on to transform the economy, drive innovation, increase productivity, and develop deeper capabilities in workers.
Mr Lee (above, in a file photo) commented on the need to push on to transform the economy, drive innovation, increase productivity, and develop deeper capabilities in workers.PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - The Government has clearly set out its mid- to long-term plans with the latest Budget, which was passed on Thursday (March 1), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Thursday evening (March 1).

He reaffirmed Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat's round-up speech in Parliament earlier in the day, which explained why spending will increase. These, in the main, are due to an ageing society in Singapore, growing security threats, investment in preschools, and major infrastructure projects such as Changi Airport's Terminal 5.

Highlighting the planned increase in the Goods and Services Tax by two percentage points - from the current 7 per cent to 9 per cent - sometime between 2021 and 2025, PM Lee said this was the "responsible way to fund recurrent spending instead of drawing down our reserves or borrowing and saddling future generations with debt" .

His comments came after a lively sitting in Parliament on Thursday in which 89 MPs present voted in support for the Budget, while eight MPs from the Workers' Party voted against.

Said PM Lee: "Raising taxes is never easy, but we are announcing this raise well in advance to give everyone ample notice of what's to come."

He also commented on the need to push on to transform the economy, drive innovation, increase productivity, and develop deeper capabilities in workers.

"With Budget 2018, the government has laid out our mid- to long-term plans clearly. We need to work together to realise them, and to thrive as a nation," he said.

The debate is continuing till next week, with Parliament examining each ministry's Budget.