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Budget 2006 Forum For Junior College And University Students

10 Feb 2006


300 youths and teachers had an early Budget Debate on 10 February 2006, one week before the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance was to deliver his Budget Statement in Parliament. They developed their own Budget and learnt to make difficult fiscal tradeoffs. Five students also delivered their own "mini" budget statements and defended their priorities for Singapore, before their budget statements were put to the vote.

2. The students from the Singapore Management University (SMU), National University of Singapore (NUS), National Technological University (NTU) and 16 junior colleges and centralised institute as well as 41 junior college economics teachers were participating in the pre-budget youth forum, jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and SMU.

3. This is the first time the Ministry of Finance is engaging youths in a large-scale pre-budget forum to give them behind-the-scenes insights to the budget process, including how the budget had helped businesses and individuals cope with difficult times over the last 5 years. Through the forum, the Ministry hopes to interest and involve younger Singaporeans in thinking about Singapore's national priorities and how they can be achieved.

4. On 20 January 2006, MOF launched the Budget 2006 Website which had since attracted more than 40,000 pageviews, or an average of 2,000 pageviews per day. Over 450 people had given their suggestions for Budget 2006 through the feedback portal while nearly 1,000 had tried their hands at setting the Budget using "Voice Your Choice", a web-activity tool that simulates the fiscal policy decision-making process for users. A summary of the feedback is attached at the Annex.

5. Associate Professor Winston T. H. Koh, Associate Dean, School of Economics and Social Sciences, SMU thought that the Budget website and the "Voice Your Choice" provided useful educational tools for younger Singaporeans. He said, "The study of macroeconomics and public sector economics are fundamental components to the economics programme in SMU. The interactive Singapore Budget website with its novel Voice Your Choice simulation tool provides an innovative hands-on experience for SMU students to understand the impact and consequences of their fiscal choices. Many of our students will graduate to become leaders in the business world. Allowing them to have a flavour of public policy-making and the complexities surrounding the annual budget process is an excellent way to complement their learning process."

6. Would the concerns reflected through students' choices and the feedback portal be addressed in this year's Budget? Find out when the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lee Hsien Loong announces the Budget Statement on 17 February 2006.