Singapore’s upcoming budget will likely address issues on retirement adequacy and ensuring good careers for the young and middle-aged, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, as he provided a rare glimpse of Budget 2015.
Speaking on the sidelines of NUS’ anniversary celebrations in Taman Jurong on Sunday (Feb 1), Mr Tharman said the budget will provide greater assurance particularly for the lower-income seniors.
He said the Government is in the final stages of shaping the Silver Support scheme. The new initiative, which was announced at last year’s National Day Rally, will see the Government pay an annual bonus to low-income elderly Singaporeans from age 65 to help them cope with their living expenses.
“Providing assurances in retirement for our seniors is a very important priority – not just for today’s generation of seniors but those in future as well. It is a strengthening of our social security system,” said Mr Tharman.
Besides retirement adequacy, Mr Tharman said what is equally important is ensuring that young and middle-aged Singaporeans have fulfilling careers: “We have always got to look to the future – anticipate the challenges, prepare our people and equip them with the capabilities and the expertise that they need to do well, individually as well as collectively as Singapore.
“When we talk about good careers, it is not just about those who are today in school or in our tertiary institutions and about to start their careers. It is also about our mid-career Singaporeans.”
The finance minister emphasised that the budget initiatives will not stand on its own. He said it is a continuation of what the government has been doing in the past, especially the last five years.
Mr Tharman said steps have been taken that are significantly transforming Singapore’s social and economic landscape, such as strengthening affordability in healthcare and housing for the lower and middle-income groups.
He said that this year’s budget, which comes along with Singapore’s 50th anniversary, will address both the needs of today and tomorrow. Mr Tharman will deliver Singapore’s Budget for 2015 in Parliament on Feb 23.