Singapore Government
Singapore Budget 2008
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Budget 2008
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Expenditure Overview
   
Social Development
 

The Social Development sector comprises six Ministries: Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of National Development (MND), Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).

This sector will account for $15.9 billion or 42.4% of government expenditure in FY2008.

The Government aims to make Singapore the Best Home for all its citizens, where everyone has the opportunity to be the best he or she can be, and has a stake in Singapore’s success. Our strategy is to provide affordable housing, education, and basic healthcare for all with more targeted assistance for the needy. At the same time, the Government aims to build a world-class living environment, and a sense of identity and community that binds Singaporeans as one nation.

The Government aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Quality Education
  • Good, Affordable Healthcare
  • Strong Families
  • A Caring and Inclusive Society
  • Financial Security
  • A World-Class Living Environment

From time to time, the Government will share some of the nation’s surplus with Singaporeans, when the fiscal position allows.

Quality Education

Giving Singaporeans a quality education goes beyond improving quality in the classroom, to maximising the potential of our young Singaporeans by catering to their diverse talents and broadening the pathways they can take to success.

  • Provide a quality education in the classroom and beyond.
    MOE will set aside $3.8 billion to finance basic education for our young, including a new secondary school specialising in applied disciplines.
  • Level up opportunities for students.
    MOE will enhance the quality of pre-school education and take steps to reduce attrition.
  • Ensure affordability of quality tertiary education.
    MOE will set aside $3 billion for our universities, polytechnics and institutes of technical education. The Committee on the Expansion of the University Sector is looking into increasing the subsidised cohort participation rate from the current target of 25% to 30% by 2015. A further PSEA top-up of $150 to $600 per child will be made this year. Financial support for lower-income students will be enhanced, and assistance will be extended to the middle-income brackets. MOE will also raise the quality of the tertiary education sector through regulation and certification.

Good, Affordable Healthcare

Many major health problems in Singapore today are lifestyle-related. The promotion of good health and a healthy lifestyle remains a key priority of the sector to reduce health risks through early efforts. The Government is committed towards ensuring that Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare, and will continue to improve the integration of providers across the healthcare spectrum.

  • Promote good health.
    MOH will set aside $93 million for health education and promotion initiatives, with special focus on at-risk groups.
  • Ensure that basic healthcare remains affordable to all.
    MOH will set aside $1.6 billion as subsidies for Singaporeans at public polyclinics, public hospitals and step-down care institutions.
  • Help elderly and needy Singaporeans with their healthcare needs.
    MOH will improve intermediate and long term care by strengthening the link with step-down care providers. The Government will top up the Medisave Accounts of older Singaporeans by $150 to $450 to help them with healthcare costs and higher MediShield premiums. The Government will also top up Eldercare Fund by $400 million and Medifund by $200 million to help lower-income Singaporeans with their healthcare bills.

Strong Families

Families serve as an important pillar of support for the nation. We aim to promote strong and stable families that contribute to social stability and harmony, and make Singapore the best home where parents can raise their children and enjoy the warmth of family life.

  • Support family formation.
    MCYS will set aside $321.7 million for the Baby Bonus Scheme and Government Paid Maternity Leave Scheme to encourage and support married couples to have more children. Another $85 million will be allocated for infant care and childcare subsidies.

A Caring and Inclusive Society

One of the key priorities of the sector is to build a caring and inclusive society by fostering a sense of community and engaging active citizens, engaging and supporting young Singaporeans, and helping vulnerable groups.

  • Reinforce communal harmony and build a strong community network.
    MCYS will allocate $332.7 million to promote racial harmony and social cohesion. Another $57.8 million will be set aside to promote volunteerism, support philanthropy and strengthen community and social services.
  • Foster nationhood and identity; promote life-long learning.
    MICA will allocate $85 million for museums and heritage programmes. Another $173 million will be allocated to our libraries.
  • Engage and support youth.
    MCYS will set aside $39 million to provide platforms for youths to organise and showcase their activities.
  • Assist the vulnerable groups.
    The Government will top up the ComCare Fund by $200 million, increase the Public Assistance rates, raise the Singapore Allowance for pensioners, and provide another $10 million over the next four years to the CCC ComCare Fund, Government-funded VWOs programmes and Self-Help Groups. In addition, MCYS will allocate $86.1 million towards re-integrating youth offenders back into the society, protecting families who have been abused, and assisting the destitute. Another $44.5 million will be set aside to assist the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Financial Security

Singapore's population is aging rapidly as life expectancies rise and fertility rates fall. Coping with retirement adequacy needs will be an increasingly important issue for us. Enhancing the CPF system has been a priority, and the latest focus is on the introduction of the CPF LIFE scheme to assure CPF members of a stream of income for as long as they live.

  • Encourage Singaporeans to enrol in the CPF LIFE scheme.
    The Government will set aside $770 million over three years to provide a sign-on bonus, called the LIFE Bonus (L-Bonus), for Singaporeans aged 46 to 50 in 2008 who join the CPF LIFE scheme, with up to $54,000 Assessable Income (AI) and live in a property of up to $11,000 Annual Value (AV) at the time of enrolment. Members in the oldest cohort can expect to receive between $2,200 and $4,000, while the youngest cohort aged 46 today will get 30 percent of what the 50-year-old receives. The L-Bonus will also be extended to older Singaporeans who opt in to CPF LIFE.
  • Enhance employability and retirement adequacy of low-wage workers.
    MOM will set aside $427 million for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme.
  • Encourage voluntary savings for retirement.
    The Government will broaden the tax reliefs and make it easier for Singaporeans to top up their own CPF accounts and that of their family members. The age limit on SRS contributions will be removed. Employers will also be allowed to top up their employees’ Minimum Sums and contribute to their employees’ SRS accounts.

A World-Class Living Environment

A world-class living environment is one where Singaporeans enjoy a high quality of life, not just through a clean environment and affordable quality public housing, but also through a range of leisure opportunities and lifestyle attractions that transform Singapore into a “City of Gardens and Water”. Sustainable development would be a key priority, with initiatives undertaken to promote awareness of the environment, energy, conservation and efficiency, and to address the challenges of climate change.

  • Ensure a clean and healthy environment and water resources.
    MEWR will allocate $396 million to manage water resources and maintain a sustainable and affordable water supply for Singaporeans, and another $271.1 million to maintain a high standard of environmental public health.
  • Provide affordable and quality public housing.
    MND will set aside $242 million for public housing subsidies and invest $1.06 billion to rejuvenate older housing estates.
  • Promote energy efficiency.
    MEWR will launch the National Energy Efficiency Masterplan (E2 Singapore) to develop capabilities and promote the adoption of measures on energy efficiency, thereby enhancing our economic competitiveness and energy security.
  • Create a “City of Gardens and Water”.
    MND will invest $117 million to undertake large-scale infrastructural works in the Marina Bay and bring more buzz to nightlife in key areas of the city. MND will also set aside $399 million to create more park connectors, enhance our streetscape and skyrise greenery, and develop the Gardens by the Bay. In addition, MEWR will allocate $55 million for the Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters Programme to remake our waterways, reservoirs and parks into aesthetically pleasing, vibrant and exciting lifestyle attractions.
  • Develop a sporting people.
    MCYS will set aside $95.8 million to promote regular sports participation among Singaporeans and develop new sports complexes. Another $43.5 million will be allocated for the promotion of sports excellence. The Sports Hub will be developed as a world-class venue for sports and entertainment events.
  • Enhance Singapore’s artistic capacity to be a global city of the arts.
    MICA will allocate $178 million to develop the School of the Arts, organise events such as the Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore Biennale and Singapore Writers Festival, and outreach programmes for the masses and in schools.

Sharing in the Nation’s Progress

  • The Government will distribute $865 million of Growth Dividends to share the nation’s surpluses with Singaporeans. Older Singaporeans and National Servicemen will receive additional Growth Dividends in recognition of their contributions to the nation.
 
   
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