Budget 2016: Partnering For The Future25 Mar 2016
Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat delivered the Singapore Government’s Budget Statement for Financial Year 2016 in Parliament on Thursday, 24 March 2016.
2. Budget 2016 builds on the success of the past 50 years, and continues to find ways to create opportunities for Singaporeans to grow, to plan ahead, stay united, be creative, and build a future together. To achieve our goals, we must grow our economy and invest collectively for the long term.
3. At the core of this journey ahead is the Spirit of Partnership that will drive us to transform the economy through innovation and enterprise, and to build a caring and resilient society. Everyone has a role, and together, we are weaving a rich tapestry that gives strength and resilience to our economy and society.
Transforming Our Economy through Enterprise and Innovation
4.The economy currently faces cyclical headwinds, which require addressing, as well as major structural changes abroad and at home, which present an urgent and critical need for restructuring. At the same time, there are growing opportunities in the region, and Singapore is also well placed to benefit from technological changes. Furthermore, our people are valued for their integrity and adaptability, and our country is regarded as a highly connected and trusted node.
5. Budget 2016 will address three aspects of Singapore’s economy:
(a) We will adopt an expansionary fiscal stance to provide support in the near term and address immediate business concerns;
(b) We will launch the Industry Transformation Programme to strengthen enterprises and industry, and drive growth through innovation;
(c) We will support our people through change, enabling Singaporeans to learn new skills, and in facilitating job matching.
6. First, firms will continue to benefit from the Transition Support Package and public projects. The Corporate Income Tax rebate, which is part of the Package, will be increased. The Special Employment Credit will be extended. An SME Working Capital Loan scheme will be introduced, the Revitalisation of Shops scheme will be enhanced, and foreign worker levy increases in the Marine and Process sectors will be deferred.
7. Second, a new Industry Transformation Programme will be launched. This Programme integrates different restructuring efforts, takes a more targeted and sector-focused approach to addressing issues, and deepens partnerships between Government, firms, industries, and trade associations and chambers. It will include initiatives at both the firm and industry levels, such as a Business Grants Portal, an Automation Support Package, an expanded SME Mezzanine Growth Fund, an extension of the Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme, a National Trade Platform, support for the National Robotics Programme, and an enhanced Local Enterprise and Association Development programme (LEAD-Plus). In addition, to drive transformation through innovation, a new entity, SG-Innovate, will be established to provide stronger support for start-ups. There will also be a top-up to the National Research Fund, and the launch of the Jurong Innovation District.
8. Third, Singaporeans will see career support through continued investments in SkillsFuture, help through the “Adapt and Grow” initiative to find jobs, and a new approach to jobs and training that partners companies and industry associations more closely. The new TechSkills Accelerator, a skills development and job placement hub, will develop more Singaporeans to take advantage of job opportunities in the ICT sector, and help to drive our Smart Nation effort.
Building a Caring and Resilient Society
9. Budget 2016 builds on SG50 to look at new ways to build a caring and resilient society. It includes measures for young children, for students, and for families and households. Lower-skilled workers and persons with disabilities will receive enhanced assistance. Seniors, in particular, will see the implementation of the Silver Support Scheme, which will provide eligible recipients with a supplement to their retirement income, along with pilot Community Networks for Seniors, designed to provide better coordination among local partners.
10. To encourage giving back to society, Budget 2016 incentivises employee volunteerism through businesses to help Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) and to boost donations to the Community Chest through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. A new $25 million Our Singapore Fund will be established as well to support projects that will build a caring and resilient society, nurture a can-do spirit, and promotes unity and a Singaporean identity.
11. Budget 2016 marks the start of a multi-year journey to transform our economy through enterprise and innovation, and to build a caring and resilient society. Through collective partnering, Singaporeans can come together to make the nation a better place for all.
12. More details of the measures introduced in Budget 2016 can be found on the Singapore Budget website, at www.singaporebudget.gov.sg.