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Singapore Budget 2018: Helping businesses, workers, seniors and more, PM says
THIS year's Budget is aimed at helping businesses grow to support a "vibrant and innovative" economy, and at the same time give workers a leg up in developing capabilities and skills to adapt to an economy which is increasingly going digital, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Tuesday morning Facebook post.
The government, through grants, will support businesses to innovate and build capabilities, and also help firms internationalise, Mr Lee wrote.
Singapore also has to reduce its carbon footprint to become a "smart, green, and liveable" city. Mr Lee said that this was the rationale behind the new carbon tax of S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, which will encourage industries and consumers to reduce emissions.
On ageing, a new Silver Generation Office will coordinate social and health-related services for seniors.
The government will integrate its health and social services for seniors, and spend S$550 million more to better serve the needs of ageing Singaporeans.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development will transfer its seniors-related social services under the Senior Cluster Network and other programmes to the Ministry of Health, with effect from April 1 this year.
Mr Lee also said government spending will rise in healthcare, infrastructure and security, underscoring the need to increase GST (Goods and Services Tax) from 7 per cent to 9 per cent to remain on "sound fiscal footing".
The government said it will continue to absorb GST on subsidised education and healthcare.
"This will be done in a fair and progressive manner, and we will help households to cope with this change, especially poorer households," Mr Lee said in the Facebook post.
He also added that last year's Budget surplus meant each Singaporean will receive a one-off SG Bonus of between S$100 and S$300 depending on income.
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