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Key issue at Pre-Budget session: Preparing for the future

08 Dec 2016

Lee Xin En

The economy is at the top of people's minds and many are thinking about training to get ready for the future.

That was the general sense at the first Pre-Budget Conversation, held last night with Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, in attendance. She said participants were concerned about "how to be ready, and be equipped for the economic situation".

"One consistent theme is how to get Singaporeans ready for the kind of jobs available, and the conversation tends to veer towards practical skills. They discussed training with employers and secondments, which is heartening, because they are coming up with this on their own, and actually dovetails into SkillsFuture."

About 90 people took part in the two-hour conversation held at the *Scape theatre in Orchard Road and organised by the Ministry of Finance and Reach, the agency that facilitates the Government's engagement with citizens.

Participants tackled five themes - economic and productivity growth; internationalisation and scaling up; education, training and lifelong learning; volunteerism and philanthropy; and supporting families.

National serviceman Lionel Loi, 20, told The Straits Times that he came to give his views on jobs and training for the younger generation who may struggle to find jobs in this economic climate.

Mr Vikram Nair, vice-chairman of the Reach supervisory panel, noted the issue of internationalisation for firms, adding that businessmen he met at the session asked for more outreach from the Government to understand the funding available.

Ms Rajah stressed the need to get public feedback: "It's important to hear from people, what's on their minds, where they think the gaps are. Having their input and feedback is useful for firming policies."

There are nine Listening Points - easily accessible open booths for Singaporeans to give their Budget views in person. This is triple the number last year, underscoring the Government's interest in having the public's input.

The first Listening Point will be at Junction 8, opposite Toast Box, this Saturday, from 11am to 3pm.

The Budget feedback exercise ends on Jan 13 with the Budget expected to be delivered in February.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.