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Singapore’s Fiscal Policy

Singapore’s fiscal policies have helped to steward the country’s progress over the years. They aim to create the conditions for macroeconomic stability, support economic growth, and promote social equity. We achieve this by maintaining a balanced budget, investing for the future, and ensuring a fair and progressive fiscal system.

Our fiscal policies are designed to support the following key objectives:

We are committed to maintain a sound and sustainable fiscal system that enables us to realise our long-term plans for Singapore. We aim to run balanced budgets over the long term, while ensuring that there are sufficient resources to meet society’s needs.

What do we spend on?
Public spending is focused on public goods and infrastructure that enable our people and businesses to thrive and grow. We invest heavily in skills, education and infrastructure to develop our people and lay the foundations for long-term economic growth. We also commit a steady amount of spending on security to safeguard our way of life.

As our society ages, we have been increasing our social spending. Over the last decade, we have almost doubled our social spending from $27.2 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2014, to $56.1 billion in FY2024^.  Social spending continues to make up the largest part of annual Ministry expenditure, at about half of total Ministry expenditure. A large part of the increase has gone towards improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare, for which spending has more than doubled over this period.

^ Based on estimated FY2024 figures
* Refers only to Ministries Expenditure, Excluding Special Transfers and Top-ups to Endowment/ Trust Funds

Planning for the long-term
Fiscal policy in Singapore is characterised by a strong long-term orientation. We plan far ahead to prepare for longer-term challenges such as ageing and climate change. Doing so enables us to intervene effectively upstream, to avoid more costly interventions downstream. It also enables us to help our society and economy adjust to the challenges. 

We are planning ahead to cater for several new spending priorities going forward, including health and aged care, early childhood education and SkillsFuture, strengthening retirement adequacy, renewing our city infrastructure, managing the green transition, improving our economic competitiveness and protecting ourselves against new security threats. 

As part of this longer-term planning, we embarked on the Forward Singapore exercise to refresh our social compact and give more assurance to help Singaporeans navigate the uncertainties in today’s world. We will spend around $5 billion on Forward Singapore policy moves in FY2024, and close to $40 billion in total by the end of this decade. Key moves include the expansion of KidSTART and the enhancement of schemes such as the enhanced Baby Bonus, Workfare, Silver Support and the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme. We also introduced new measures such as the ITE Progression Award, the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme, the ComLink+ Progress Packages, the Majulah Package, Healthier SG and Age Well SG, and financial assistance for the involuntarily unemployed.

Spending for outcomes

Even as we ensure sufficient public spending to meet the evolving demands of our economy and society, we seek to maintain a light fiscal burden on taxpayers. We seek to achieve strong outcomes while delivering value for money for taxpayers. Today, Singapore's Government expenditure as a share of GDP is among the lowest across advanced economies'.

Source: OECD database ( and MOF
Note: Singapore (2030) assumes the projected upper bound for Government Expenditure

We spend relatively less of our GDP as a Government, and focus on achieving cost-effective spending. In areas such as education, health, policing, we have consistently achieved outcomes near the top internationally (e.g. PISA, healthy life expectancy, Gallup law and order index) despite lower levels of spending as a percentage of GDP than other jurisdictions.

Sources: MOF, WHO (Global Health Expenditure Database) and World Bank, Hong Kong Health Bureau

Notes: Data for Singapore is proxied using MOH’s total expenditure (Est. FY2024)


Sources: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, OECD, MOF.
Note: Data for Singapore is proxied using Set FY2024 total expenditure for Education 


Stewarding our resources for the future

Financial strength helps a small country with no natural resources like Singapore to respond effectively to crises. Over the years, we have been prudent and disciplined in building up our reserves. Our reserves have allowed us to deal with unexpected shocks such as the COVID-19 outbreak and be able to respond decisively by supporting Singaporeans and our workers amidst the pandemic. Unlike many other countries, our reserves have allowed us to do so without borrowing heavily and passing on the financial burden to future generations.

The total draw on reserves is around $40 billion from FY2020 to FY2022, less than the initial sum of $52.0 billion announced at the Fortitude Budget in FY2020. This is in part because of our swift and decisive response to the pandemic, which enabled us to avert worse public health outcomes. It reflects our prudence in the use of reserves.

Our reserves also contribute significantly to our total revenues available for annual spending. We have invested our reserves for the long-term, and the returns generated from investing our reserves are shared between present and future generations. Part of the investment returns* generated supplement our annual budget through the Net Investment Returns Contribution (NIRC). The NIRC forms one of the largest components of Government revenues, contributing about 20% to our annual budget for spending. We have to continue to fiscally plan in a responsible and sustainable manner, to ensure that each generation contributes and benefits fairly from the Budget. 

This is unlike the situation in many other advanced economies today. Most advanced countries pay about 2% of their GDP in debt servicing of accumulated debt (as shown at the lower half of the chart below). They collect taxes to pay off these debts. In Singapore, it is the opposite – we have grown a steady stream of returns from investments of our reserves for current spending (as shown in the top half of the chart below), which helps to keep our taxes low. This in turn helps to support many important areas of expenditure that are important to Singapore’s development and future growth. For example, NIRC’s annual contribution to Government revenue is larger than our annual spending on education. 

*Investment returns refers to Net Investment Returns Contribution. Interest payments refer to net general government interest payments, retrieved from OECD Economic Outlook Volume 2024 Issue 1 (May 2024)

Sound and sustainable fiscal policies provide macroeconomic stability and the conditions that are conducive for growth. In addition, it plays a critical role in enhancing Singapore’s long-term capabilities for growth.

Building capabilities and delivering inclusive growth
While the share of public spending on development expenditure has declined in many advanced economies, Singapore continues to devote a large part of our budget to development and investment.  About 18% of our budget is devoted to development expenditure.  This has allowed us to build up the capabilities to secure Singapore’s future growth, and enable our people and firms to grow and compete in a global arena.

The Government is investing strongly to accelerate our innovation and digitalisation push, grow our base of innovative enterprises, and pursue new frontiers of growth. We are investing in research in areas like health and biomedical sciences, climate change and artificial intelligence. We are forging stronger connections to major innovation nodes and key demand markets, through trade facilitation and digital economy agreements, platforms like the Networked Trade Platform and Global Innovation Alliance, and by continuing to make major investments in our port and airport.

We also invest strongly in our people throughout life, starting from the early years to ensure no one falls behind. This enables our people to take on the new opportunities created and raise our standard of living.

Through our strategies, all Singaporeans have been able to enjoy the fruits of progress. Over the decade from 2013 to 2023, households across all income groups have experienced real income growth, with the lower-income group experiencing higher growth.

Working in partnership
Singapore’s fiscal policy seeks to encourage collective responsibility at all levels of society. It aims to support, enable, and amplify the efforts, ideas and initiatives of the business and people sectors, to build a better Singapore together.

Our success in building a vibrant economy, inclusive society and a better home will increasingly hinge on strong partnerships between Government, businesses and community. 
We seek to achieve a progressive fiscal system that fosters continued social mobility and uplifts the vulnerable in society. It is a constant work in progress.

Fair system of taxes and transfers
We are committed to ensure that our overall system of taxes and transfers is progressive – with the better-off contributing more, and lower- and middle-income households receiving more in benefits than the taxes they pay. Today, when you look at the overall balance of taxes and benefits, lower- and middle- income households receive proportionately more benefits from transfers than what they pay in taxes.


Source: MOF
Note: Benefits include transfers, subsidies and capital grants related to housing, employment & training, education, healthcare, social support, childcare, marriage & parenthood, and special transfers. Taxes include personal income tax, GST, vehicle-related taxes, property tax, foreign domestic work levy, stamp duty, and other indirect taxes.

Over the years, we have also strengthened support for low-wage workers, vulnerable seniors, and households with greater caregiving burdens, through programmes like Workfare and Silver Support.

Fostering social mobility
Our fiscal policy aims to provide a foundation of broad-based opportunities that enables everyone to earn their own success. We redistribute resources in a way that enhances the capability of our people, through investments in areas like education and housing. In these areas, we provide more support for lower- and middle-income groups.

In education, we have invested significantly in pre-school and in a high-quality public school system that is accessible to all, so as to equalise opportunities when children are young. Our annual spending on affordable, quality early childhood education has doubled since 2018, and will continue to increase. We have also been allocating extra resources to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and will continue to do so. This includes expanding KidStart, to help lower-income families and their children in the earliest years, which are critical to their development. We will also continue to take steps to improve preschool affordability through reducing monthly childcare fee caps in Government-supported preschools in 2025, and enhancing existing preschool subsidies for lower-income families. Our heavy investment in education also extends into strong tertiary pathways through ITE, polytechnics, universities, and increasingly to lifelong learning.

Today, Singaporeans who grew up in lower income families have a better chance of moving up the income ladder than those in most other advanced countries. For the 1985-1989 birth cohorts, 14.0% of those born to families from the lowest 20% by household income made it to the highest 20% by income.


Source: MOF — Singapore; Chetty et al. (2014) — United States, United Kingdom, Denmark; Connolly et al. (2019) — Canada


Analysis of Revenue and Expenditure ( 679 KB)
Revenue and Expenditure Estimates ( 4,590 KB)

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 Revised FY2023Estimated FY2024Change Over
Revised FY2023
OPERATING REVENUE104.30108.644.344.2
Corporate Income Tax28.3828.03(0.35)(1.2)
Personal Income Tax17.5318.070.553.1
Withholding Tax2.192.310.125.5
Statutory Boards' Contributions0.750.31(0.44)(58.8)
Assets Taxes5.926.670.7612.8
Customs, Excise and Carbon Taxes3.403.560.174.9
Goods and Services Tax16.3619.393.0318.5
Motor Vehicle Taxes2.602.840.249.3
Vehicle Quota Premiums4.664.720.061.3
Betting Taxes3.
Stamp Duty5.925.73(0.19)(3.2)
Other Taxes18.788.860.080.9
Fees and Charges (excluding Vehicle Quota Premiums)
TOTAL EXPENDITURE106.89111.764.874.6
Operating Expenditure85.3688.433.073.6
Development Expenditure21.5223.331.808.4
SPECIAL TRANSFERS227.1723.30(3.87)(14.3)
Special Transfers Excluding Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds2.852.94  
CDC Vouchers0.640.85  
COL Special Payment1.550.81  
Other Transfers30.661.28  
BASIC SURPLUS / DEFICIT3(5.44)(6.06)  
Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds24.3220.35  
Majulah Package Fund7.50-  
GST Voucher Fund2.406.00  
Future Energy Fund-5.00  
Financial Sector Development Fund-2.00  
National Productivity Fund4.002.00  
Top-up to Endowment Funds42.302.00  
Other Funds58.123.35  



Note: Due to rounding, figures may not add up. Negative figures are shown in parentheses.

  1. Surplus / Deficit before Special Transfers (including Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds), Net Investment Returns Contribution, Interest Costs and Loan Expenses, and Capitalisation and Depreciation of Nationally Significant Infrastructure.
  2. Special Transfers including Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds.
  3. Surplus / Deficit before Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds, Net Investment Returns Contribution, Capitalisation and Depreciation of Nationally Significant Infrastructure, and Interest Costs and Loan Expenses.
  4. Interest Costs and Loan Expenses include the annual effective interest cost (which is computed based on the yield to maturity multiplied by the face value of the bond) and other ancillary loan expenses incurred in connection with the SINGA. It excludes principal repayment and transfer of loan discount to Development Fund. It is different from the Debt Servicing and Related Costs presented in the Expenditure Estimates and Annex to Expenditure Estimates for Head Y.