SINGAPORE – Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s maiden Budget speech in Parliament on Thursday (March 24) was a business-minded one.
He spent some time addressing the current economic slowdown and giving help to those who continue to be displaced by economic transformation, but his overarching theme was preparing for the future.
He began his speech by harking back to the first Budget speech of 1965, and ended his two-hour address with a call for Singaporeans to contribute to the “Singapore story” for the next 1,000 years.
These are 11 announcements that stood out. Read more >>
SINGAPORE : Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered his Budget speech on Thursday (March 24). Here are the winners and losers:
- Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Corporate income tax rebate will be increased to 50 per cent from 30 per cent, targeted at SMEs — the last time the Government had a 50 per cent rebate was in 2001. The Government will provide a S$300,000 loan per SME to support them to continue to grow. The SME Mezzanine growth fund will be expanded to S$150 million from S$100 million.
- Human capital: The Government plans to spend S$12.8 billion in education, which is almost double what they spent a decade ago. Government agencies will expand job opportunities for people with disabilities at work.
- Increased fiscal spending: Total spending this year expected to be S$5 billion higher (7.3 per cent) in comparison to last year. The increases will mostly be in healthcare, education, security and urban development. Transport spending will rise more than five times more than what was spent 10 years ago to S$10.1 billion.
- Technology: Singapore plans to fund over S$450 million for a national robotics program over three years in a bid to build a more innovative society. Companies will also now have flexibility to write down the cost of acquiring intellectual property. A new initiative will help get more people trained for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
- Charities: A new S$25 million “Our Singapore Fund” will be created to support projects that will build “a caring and resilient society”. There will be a 250 per cent tax deduction on associated costs incurred for businesses that organise employees to volunteer at Institution of a Public Character (IPC) from July 2016 to end of 2018.
- Marine & Process Sectors: Boost in levies for work permit holders have been deferred for one year in these sectors.