Shutterstock/ AAR Studio
The budget comes against the backdrop of a weakening economy, with growth being hit by global trade worries.
Tuesday 19, February 2019
(Bloomberg) --Singapore will boost spending on health care for its ageing population, give some citizens a tax rebate and tighten restrictions on foreign workers.
Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s finance minister, said that the government is projecting an overall budget deficit of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product in the year ending March 2020, compared with a revised surplus of 0.4 per cent in the current fiscal year.
Authorities are trying to strike a careful balance before the election: bolstering an economy that is been hit by weaker global demand, providing more support for elderly citizens, while still sticking to a tradition of fiscal prudence.
“Singapore must always be pre-emptive,” said Barnabas Gan, an economist with United Overseas Bank in Singapore. “We are a small nation and also there is this urgent demand for greater expenditure for health care in light of the ageing population.” It’s all about “preparing for the next decade,” he added.