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Ministry of Finance's Addendum to the President's Address by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lee Hsien Loong at the Parliament, 17 Jan 2005

17 Jan 2005


1. The focus of our fiscal policy is to help make Singapore a land of opportunity - a dynamic economy infused with the spirit of enterprise and innovation and an inclusive society which recognises different talents, abilities and needs.


2. Sound fiscal policy underpins our macroeconomic stability which ensures sustainable growth and the expansion of opportunities. The Government will aim to balance the budget over its term of office and grow our reserves. This will provide us the resources to deal with the challenges of an uncertain security environment, economic restructuring and an ageing population.

3. We will continue to invest in new areas that reflect the changing needs and demands of our economy and society. To reinforce this, we have set up a reinvestment fund that pools a part of ministries' budget for redistribution to new priority areas ranging from pre-school programmes to our creative industries.


4. The Government will ensure a competitive tax regime that will promote private enterprise and individual initiative. Besides the on-going efforts to lower tax rates and simplify the tax structure, the Government will reduce the burden on businesses by cutting red tape and setting its fees and charges at cost unless higher rates are needed to deter excessive usage.

5. We will also strive to make Singapore a preferred place for doing business by simplifying business regulation, enhancing our corporate governance standards and accounting practices, and introducing new business forms - such as a limited partnership and limited liability partnership - to increase the options available to businessmen and investors.


6. "Many Agencies, One Government" will remain the basis of how we organise services to offer greater convenience for the public. We will further enhance our customer-centric approach to providing public services through our e-Government programme which collaborates with the private and people sectors to provide a seamless experience to customers who need to transact with multiple parties. Those who have no personal access to the internet or are unable to cope will continue to get help through an increasing network of eCitizen Helper Centres.

7. The Government will continually seek the best value for taxpayers' monies. We will do this by getting the most efficient provider to deliver public services, by managing our manpower growth more carefully and to continually economise and cut waste in the public sector.

8. The Government has also introduced the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model as a way to tap on private initiative and innovation for more efficient delivery of complex government projects with capital value in excess of $50m. Over the next three to five years, the Government will explore the use of PPP for more than $1 billion worth of projects.


9. Shared prosperity will remain the cornerstone of our social compact. There will be sharing of surpluses accumulated in good years. The Government will continue to subsidise education, basic health care and public housing to ensure that they are affordable.We will also provide targeted assistance to those in need. The Government will work through community-based organisations to help the unemployed and those facing financial distress to become self-reliant and independent.

10. The people sector can play a vital role in this effort. We will promote voluntarism and philanthropy to strengthen our collective social responsibility to those less able and fortunate. And we will work with the people sector to improve governance and accountability in charity. This will help preserve public confidence and encourage informed giving.