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A Better Singapore: Quality Growth, An Inclusive Society

25 Feb 2013

   Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam delivered the Budget Statement for the Financial Year (FY) 2013 Budget on 25 February 2013.

2 Budget 2013 sets out the strategies and directions for building a better Singapore. We want to achieve quality growth and an inclusive society, so that by the end of the decade, Singaporeans can have better opportunities and more fulfilling lives. We are no longer a developing economy, but we have not achieved the levels of productivity and incomes of an advanced economy. At the same time, our society is facing the pressures of widening income disparities and our own workforce is growing more slowly and getting older.

3 We have to shift gears for an economy and society that is in transition.

(1) Transforming Our Economy for Better Jobs

4 We need to restructure the economy to raise productivity and achieve Quality Growth. We have to continue moderating foreign workforce growth through a targeted approach, with adjustments calibrated to the circumstances of each sector and each category of workers.

5 At the same time, Government will provide businesses with strong support for restructuring. The Government will introduce a $5.9 billion Quality Growth Programme to help businesses to upgrade, create better jobs and raise wages. The three-year programme includes a new Wage Credit Scheme ($3.6 billion) to encourage companies to share productivity gains with their workers through higher wages. Businesses which invest in productivity will also receive additional help through the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Bonus and a slew of enhanced productivity incentives.

(2) Building a Fair and Inclusive Society

6 We are also taking major steps to ensure that we have a fair and more inclusive society, by enhancing educational support for our children, helping lower income workers, and providing better lives for our retirees. Some of the key measures are:

• Promote social mobility through initiatives to strengthen opportunities for low- and middle-income pupils in our education system. The Pre-school sector will receive a major boost as Government more than doubles spending over the next 5 years to over $3 billion.

• Reinforce social safety nets, especially for our seniors and needy families

• Significant enhancements to Workfare to help our lower-income and older workers.

• Increase in progressivity of our tax system, in respect of property taxes for residential properties and Additional Registration Fee for passenger cars.

• $1.7 billion in household transfers this year to help Singaporean households cope with the cost of living.

• A review of healthcare financing to keep it affordable, especially for older Singaporeans.

7 More details of the measures introduced in Budget 2013 can be found in the Budget in Brief and Key Budget Initiatives. Visit the Budget 2013 website (, where you can read and download the Budget Speech, Budget in Brief and the Key Budget Initiatives. Or download the SG Budget 2013 mobile application, available on both the Apple and Android platforms, to access the Budget Speech.

Ministry of Finance
25 February 2013