Budget 2018 debate

Budget lays out Govt's mid-to long-term plans: PM

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

Budget 2018, passed yesterday, clearly sets out the Government's mid-to long-term plans for Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post last night.

He also noted a key point Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat made in his wrap-up speech - that spending will increase because of Singapore's ageing society, growing security threats, investment in pre-schools and major infrastructure projects like Changi Airport's Terminal 5.

The planned increase in the goods and services tax (GST) was the "responsible way to fund recurrent spending instead of drawing down our reserves or borrowing and saddling future generations with debt". GST is set to go up by two percentage points to 9 per cent between 2021 and 2025.

His comments came after a robust debate in Parliament. He noted that 89 members of the House voted in support of the Budget, while eight Workers' Party MPs voted against it.

Mr Lee said: "Raising taxes is never easy, but we are announcing this raise well in advance to give everyone ample notice of what is 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'Budget lays out Govt's mid-to long-term plans: PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe