MOF's Addendum to President's Address: Prudent spending remains priority; build up govt revenues for ageing society

Over the longer-term, the Government must build up revenues to meet the higher spending needs of an ageing society.
Over the longer-term, the Government must build up revenues to meet the higher spending needs of an ageing society.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prudent spending will continue to be a priority amid an uncertain global economic environment, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday (Jan 22).

The Government must emphasise getting value for money even as costs in transport infrastructure, healthcare and housing increase, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his ministry's Addendum to President Tony Tan Keng Yam's address to Parliament last week.

Over the longer-term, it must build up government revenues to meet the higher spending needs of an ageing society.

Here's a look at the plans outlined by MOF for the next five years:

Maintain prudent spending approach

* Focus on spending within our means: Emphasise value-for-money in every programme, and maintain the approach of targeting subsidies towards those most in need

* Build up government revenues to meet higher spending needs of an ageing population, in a way that keeps the economy vibrant and the tax system progressive

Support shift from value-adding to value-creating economy

* Companies must shift from competing on cost or adding incremental value, to creating new, innovative, and differentiated products and services

* Support development of a conducive environment for businesses to restructure, innovate, and internationalise

* Focus will be on helping companies innovate and succeed in overseas markets

* Form partnerships with trade associations and chambers, develop new industry platforms like the National Trade Infrastructure, among other things

* Review regulations to reduce compliance burden and costs, particularly for small firms, to make it easier to do business here

* On the international front, continue to advance Singapore's economic interests through active participation in major financial fora such as Asean, Apec and G20

* Partner international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to ensure international financial stability and sustainable economic development

Build on retirement adequacy

* Build on healthcare and retirement adequacy systems with baby boomers now into their 50s and 60s

* Changes have been made to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system to help members accumulate more CPF savings, for example, by giving additional extra interest on lower balances of older members

* Singaporeans will also be given more choices and flexibility in their retirement planning through the CPF system

Improve delivery of services to Singaporeans


* Provide better and more integrated services digitally through mobile platforms

* Within the Government, use data analytics to improve operations and support policy-making, among other things

* Share more data so that the private sector and the public can help create innovative applications to meet economic and social needs

* Greater flexibility in the way the public sector procures goods and services to encourage vendors to adopt more productive and innovative solutions