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Singapore Budget 2018: Spending needs to grow in healthcare, infrastructure, security and education


SINGAPORE will put aside some S$10.2 billion for healthcare expenditure, S$20 billion for infrastructure and S$12.8 billion for education this year, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday.

Unveiling the Budget for 2018, Mr Heng said the government expects to spend more on healthcare.

"We will have to build new healthcare capacity to meet the rising demand, and also invest in new medical technologies to improve care quality," Mr Heng said.

He said within the next five years, Singapore will build six more general and community hospitals, four new polyclinics and more nursing homes and eldercare centres across the island.

"All in all, we expect our average annual healthcare spending to rise from 2.2 per cent of GDP today to almost 3 per cent of GDP over the next decade. This is an increase of nearly 0.8-percentage point of GDP, or about S$3.6 billion in today's dollars. Within the next decade, healthcare spending is expected to overtake education."

On infrastructure, the government will expand Singapore's rail network by over 100km. It will also redevelop different parts of the Singapore-Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District and Woodlands North Coast and rejuvenate ageing infrastructure such as water pipes and HDB flats and lifts. The government will also build Changi Airport Terminal 5, Tuas Port and the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail.

"These are massive investments to anchor Singapore as the centre for economic activity in the region, create jobs, enhance liveability and serve as a foundation for future growth," Mr Heng said.

The government will sustain its investments in education to give the young a good start. In FY2018, it will spend S$12.8 billion on education.

"Even though our student cohorts are falling, we are spending more per child, and dedicating more resources to help everyone reach his or her potential," Mr Heng said.

The minister also said that the government will invest more in security to keep the country safe, without giving a specific amount to be spent.

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