Finance minister Heng Swee Keat said that despite the country being confronted by several global uncertainties Singapore is strongest when united.
With this show of resilience, the Government will continue to build a caring and inclusive home for Singaporeans, said Heng.
While Budget 2019 is forward-looking, Heng said that no Budget stands on its own.
“Every Budget builds on the past and on the wider foundation of the good work contributed by different public agencies,” he said.
As an example, he cited the recent Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review report which showed that Singapore has achieved good progress across its economic and social fronts in the past two years.
“GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate is healthy, productivity levels have improved, and Singaporeans are seeing higher real income,” he said.
Singaporeans also enjoy access to affordable and quality healthcare, education and housing, he said, adding that “the picture is positive”.
In 2018, the economy was expected to grow by 3.3 per cent, but growth is tipped to slow to 2.6 per cent in 2019, down from the 2.7 per cent expansion predicted previously,
Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Mohamed Faiz Nagutha sees 2019 as a challenging year for Singapore, however, a crisis is unlikely.
“As a small and open economy, Singapore will bear the brunt of any significant global slowdown but strong domestic fundamentals and policy buffers should help better navigate the challenges,” the economist said. “Overall, we hold a relatively optimistic outlook for Singapore.”
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