Commentary

Expansionary Budget, but what about demographic challenge?

A $2.1 billion surplus is equivalent to about 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product.PHOTO: ST FILE
Budget 2019 provides for expenditures of $80.3 billion, 1.6 per cent higher than last year.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Budgets come in various forms. Some are "Big Bang", full of startling surprises, good and bad. Some are status-quoist, hardly distinguishable from what came in previous years. Others are cumulative, building on the past towards a long-term goal, taking many small steps forward and a few big ones.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat's latest Budget is in the latter category. In what is expected to be a year of slower economic growth, it is appropriately expansionary, with expenditure projected to rise to $80.3 billion, 1.6 per cent higher than in FY2018, which was also an expansionary Budget year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2019, with the headline 'Expansionary Budget, but what about demographic challenge?'. Print Edition | Subscribe