Singapore's budget helps struggling sectors, lifts spending

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SINGAPORE – The following are some highlights of Singapore’s budget proposals for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

The budget statement comes as Singapore’s trade-reliant $402 billion economy has been buffeted by a slowdown in China and tepid global demand, and faces lacklustre growth prospects.

The government announced support for the struggling marine and process sectors. In a sign of the challenges companies face, businesses saw labour costs rise in 2015, even as economic growth slowed and headline consumer prices fell.

The budget was presented in parliament on Thursday by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

BUDGET FORECASTS

– Likely to record an overall budget surplus of $3.4 billion or 0.8 per cent of gross domestic product in fiscal 2016/17

– Total spending in fiscal 2016/17 is expected to rise by $5 billion from the current year

FOREIGN LABOUR AND PRODUCTIVITY

– The government will defer levy increases for work permit holders in marine and process sectors for one year.

– Manufacturing work permit levies will remain unchanged for another year as announced in the previous budget.

ECONOMY/COMPANIES

– Singapore will launch a $4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme to strengthen enterprises and industry, and to drive growth through innovation.

– Economic growth forecast for 2016 remains unchanged at between 1 to 3 per cent.

TAXES

– No changes made for corporate and personal income tax rates

– Existing corporate income tax rebate raised for two years to 50 per cent of tax payable from 30 per cent, with a cap of $20,000 for each year.

PROPERTY MARKET

– Based on price levels and market conditions, the government assessed it is premature to relax the range of property cooling measures introduced over the past few years.

– Says will continue to monitor developments in the market closely.

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 18:08
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