SINGAPORE - Budget 2018 has the right balance of preparing Singapore for the future while helping citizens weather the disruptions they will face, President Halimah Yacob said on Tuesday (March 13) when giving her approval to the year's expenditure.
Her assent is given to the Supply Bill, which authorises how much the Government can spend in each financial year, which starts on April 1.
The decision was supported by the independent advice of the Council of Presidential Advisers that recommended she assent to the Bill as the Budget is unlikely to draw on the nation's past reserves.
Under the Constitution, any expenditure that draws on Singapore's past reserves requires the President's agreement.
This is to ensure Singapore plans its Budget in a fiscally sustainable and financially disciplined manner, Madam Halimah wrote in a Facebook post.
"We are faced with tremendous challenges in the face of rising protectionism, threats to global security and geo-political shifts," she said.
"As a small country which is very dependent on trade and investments, our survival depends on an open and fair global trading system which is under threat," she added. "At home, we need to prepare for a rapidly ageing population and huge transformations fuelled by technology. How we deal with these challenges will determine our future."
She also said heavy investments in infrastructure, building on people's capabilities and strengthening social programmes will ensure Singapore continues to "maintain social cohesion and inclusivity" while remaining competitive.
President Halimah noted the Budget provides Singaporeans a chance to reflect on where the nation is heading and where they want their place to be in the world.
"We have weathered many storms together. We have time and again shown the world what a small country can achieve," she said. "I am confident that we will rise to the occasion and can together build a better future for our children and grandchildren."