MOF to focus on growing the economy and funding priority projects: Heng Swee Keat

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) said that the country's expenditures would continue to rise because of growing infrastructure needs and an ageing population.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) said that the country's expenditures would continue to rise because of growing infrastructure needs and an ageing population.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA - The Ministry of Finance will focus on growing the economy and funding the priority projects of other ministries, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Saturday (May 5).

"On the revenue side, we have to keep the economy growing, so that companies can continue to do well, and our people can continue to do well. That… is what we are trying to do to ensure that we have full employment, and that job prospects continue to improve," he said.

Mr Heng, who retained his finance portfolio under the latest Cabinet reshuffle, was answering questions from Singapore reporters about the reshuffle on the sidelines of the annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila.

He told reporters that the country's expenditures would continue to rise because of growing infrastructure needs and an ageing population, which exerts pressure on health-care spending.

Said Mr Heng: "We need to build new infrastructure. We need to renew our infrastructure.

"At the same time, we would like very much to support all our ministries, each of which has important priorities. Most of these will have to be funded. We have to look for ways and means of funding various initiatives and making sure we get good value for money."

Mr Heng, who also took on a new role as chairman of the National Research Foundation to oversee the national agenda for research and development under the reshuffle, said his focus would be to support basic research.

 

He said this is to ensure that Singapore develops "a very deep base for future technological improvements".

Mr Heng added that support would be provided to companies that lead in innovation, and those that offer technology deployment and diffusion.

"The computer has been invented, but this application can be put across in many areas," he said. "The question is: How do we ensure that in our system, we are able to diffuse this technology right across the economy?"