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Combination of funding methods needed for climate change defences: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE will need a combination of financing methods for its range of climate change defences, said Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday, noting that the existing reserves protection framework already allows the government to use past reserves for all land reclamation projects.

He was responding to Nominated Member of Parliament Walter Theseira, who had asked to what extent the existing policy of funding land reclamation via past reserves will be applied to finance the projected S$100 billion cost of climate change protection measures.

Prof Theseira had also asked about the roles of the President and Parliament in approving or overseeing the use of past reserves for land reclamation-related climate change protection measures.

Smaller-scale infrastructure such as localised flood barriers can be funded by the budgets of relevant ministries, said Mr Wong. For major infrastructure such as sea walls, the government will look at the option of funding them via borrowing, to spread the costs across the generations that will benefit.

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As for the use of past reserves, these are already available for meeting land reclamation costs in general. Every year, Parliament debates and approves the Supply Bill, which includes development expenditure such as land reclamation costs, noted Mr Wong.

"It's not a draw on past reserves," he highlighted. This is because, when reclaimed land is sold as state land, the proceeds will return fully to the reserves.

MOF will "continue to study equitable and sustainable ways" to fund Singapore's climate change defences, said Mr Wong.