A. Introduction – Moving Forward Together
A.1. Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that Parliament approves the financial policy of the Government for the Financial Year (FY) from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018.
A Time of Change
A.2. When I presented the last Budget, Brexit seemed remote and the US had just started the process of electing their new President. Events since then are a stark reminder of how quick and unpredictable change can be.
A.3. There is an inward-looking mood in several of the most advanced economies. Should this translate into protectionist actions, it will slow global trade and investments.
A.4. Meanwhile, advances in technology are picking up pace, disrupting traditional businesses and jobs. But they also present opportunities for countries and people who can learn and adapt quickly.
A.5. These deep shifts around the world will create new challenges but also open up new opportunities for many years to come. We must understand these shifts and do our best to adapt and thrive.
A.6. Singapore is also undergoing a key transition as our economy matures. With falling birth rates and a rapidly ageing population, labour force growth will eventually fall to zero. Many developed economies going through this same experience have seen their annual GDP growth decelerate to 1% or lower. We can aim for quality growth of 2% to 3%, if we press on in our drive for higher productivity and work hard to help everyone who wishes to work find a place in the labour force.
Building Capabilities and Partnerships
A.7. Singapore should develop strong capabilities in our firms and workers, so they can adapt to the changes in economic structures and technology. Digitalisation, innovation and highly skilled workers will enable cities and regions to prosper while staying open and connected to the world.
A.8. In addition, we must forge deep partnerships in our economy. The Government’s role is not to plan every move, but to forge a common understanding of the changes, and foster partnerships with businesses, unions, firms and workers, with each playing a key role. We need to pool our resources and ideas, and solve problems together. Such networks of trust will allow us to seize opportunities and respond to unexpected challenges.
A.9. Similarly, we need to foster partnerships in the wider society so we can maintain a good balance between state action and community initiative. Government can do good in many instances, but so can individual citizens. When friends, neighbours and fellow citizens come together in support of a cause, or one another, we forge deep bonds and grow our social capital.
A.10. It is critical that we take decisive action to re-position ourselves for the future. Budget 2017 will outline measures for our economy and our society, together with our fiscal policies. We will take a learning and adaptive approach, try new methods, continue with them when they work well, cut losses when they do not, and draw on feedback and experience to adjust and refine our plans. That is the Singapore way.
Last updated on 20 Feb 2017