E. Partnering Singaporeans To Build Singapore Together

    Partnering Singaporeans To Build Singapore Together

  1. Mr Speaker Sir, we will face more complex challenges ahead, but we are in this for the long haul. We can succeed only if we work together.
  2. Our ongoing fight against the COVID-19 outbreak is a testament to how we can work together.
    1. Our healthcare workers and frontline officers are giving their all to keep us safe, and care for those who are unwell.
    2. And others – community groups, enterprises, and many volunteers have stepped forward. Everyone has something to offer, and every action makes a difference.
  3. This is the spirit of the Singapore Together movement, which I launched last June – to build a democracy of deeds, mobilise the creative energies and commitment of Singaporeans, find common cause, and beat the odds together, to build our future Singapore.
  4. We made a concerted effort to involve Singaporeans and stakeholders in our strategic deliberations and budgeting process.
    1. Over the course of the Budget 2020 consultations, my colleagues and I met almost 1,000 leaders from different parts of society, including our unions, enterprises, social sector, and youths.
  5. It was a very enriching experience for everyone, and I thank every participant. Some of you will recognise your ideas in the Budget.
    1. For example, we enhanced the internationalisation support schemes after receiving feedback from TACs such as the Singapore Manufacturing Federation and the Association of Banks in Singapore.
    2. We provided more resources to support our people to take action to reduce carbon footprint, after several youth leaders I met suggested this.
  6. I also thank the talented students from Nanyang Polytechnic for the artistic illustrations in my slides today.
  7. Many Singaporeans are coming up with, and acting on, ideas to make Singapore a better place.
  8. The youth movement has been particularly strong.
    1. In the area of climate change, youths like Ms Cheryl Lee and her team in the Singapore Youth for Climate Action have been organising activities to encourage youth to take action through simple lifestyle choices.
    2. Ms Rohini D/O Ravindran is also contributing to the community, by conducting photography and videography sessions for lower-income youth, to develop their problem-solving skills and build a good foundation for them to excel.
  9. In 2016, we set up the Our Singapore Fund, or OSF, to provide funding support for ground-up efforts in the social domain.
    1. Since then, the OSF has committed nearly $4.3 million to support over 240 ground-up projects in culture, heritage, arts, and sports.
    2. One example is Progress NEST started by Mr Akram Hanif, to support children from low-income families.
  10. Through these partnerships, we have been able to do more and do better. And we are committed to making partnerships an integral part of how we will build our future Singapore.
  11. I will set aside $250 million to give greater momentum to our partnership efforts.
    1. I will top up the OSF and extend the Fund beyond 2020 to support more ground-up initiatives that Singaporeans are passionate about, across a wider range of domains. [See Annex C-5.]
    2. The Government is committed to expanding and scaling up successful ground-up projects, such as those supported by the OSF.
    3. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources will also be launching an SG Eco Fund to support partnerships with the community and enterprises in our sustainability efforts.
  12. Channelling the energies of our people to key causes requires us to identify the challenges of our time.
    1. These challenges are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, but they are ultimately about how Singapore remains exceptional in an increasingly complex world.
    2. The solutions will also come in all shapes and forms, from all levels of society – from government policies to individual efforts on the ground. We must overcome these challenges and find solutions together.
  13. The Government will work with agencies and key stakeholders to identify major societal challenges. This will help us focus our collective efforts on the challenges that matter, and allow us to galvanise good ideas and solutions from the public.
  14. We have issued several national innovation challenges to date, in the areas of energy, land and liveability, ageing, urban mobility, and AI-enabled healthcare.
    1. For example, our AI Healthcare Grand Challenge is drawing strong interest here, and with partners from France and Germany.
    2. Under the National Innovation Challenge in Ageing, we sought ideas to combine different technologies to enable ageing in place, and deployed these solutions at a precinct level.
    3. While we are only in our initial phases, we have learnt useful lessons, and seen encouraging results.
  15. We will issue more specific challenges to encourage ground-up participation. These include challenges in the social sector, where we have built many community partnerships to better support children from low-income and vulnerable families, and promote youth mental well-being, amongst other things.
  16. The respective Ministers will provide more details of the schemes I have mentioned in this section later.
  17. I am excited about the prospect of stronger government-citizen partnerships in overcoming these challenges, and look forward to the results that these partnerships will yield.
  18. As this Budget has many measures, MOF has prepared a booklet summarising the measures, which I hope colleagues will find useful. With your permission, Mr Speaker, may I ask the Clerks to distribute these to all Members of this House.