Minister of State for Trade and Industry and ISCA Advisor
Distinguished speakers and panellists
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for attending the ISCA Budget 2014 Update and its Tax Implications Seminar. I would particularly like to thank our guest of honour Minister Teo Ser Luck for gracing this event, despite his busy schedule.
This seminar has remained one of the most well-attended ISCA events, year after year, attesting to its relevance to our members and the interest that the topic holds for you. Today’s seminar on Budget 2014 is one of ISCA’s efforts to add value to our members by equipping them with the knowledge to relate Budget 2014 policies to their lives and work. I understand that there are about 650 participants today. It is encouraging to see so many of you here.
We once again welcome Professor Sum Yee Loong from Singapore Management University, who will be taking us through the policies of Budget 2014, and the panel of distinguished speakers who will be exchanging their views on the topic.
Building on the initiatives taken in recent years, the Budget 2014 takes two key directions: pushing for quality growth and building a fair and equitable society. The Pioneer Generation Package has been allocated an $8 billion fund to provide life-long health-care benefits for 450,000 pioneers. It is heartening to note that all members of the Pioneer Generation will receive the special benefits of the Package. I am rather moved by this because
a) “all members” means this will also cover the first batch of the national servicemen, a very significant gesture of honour that DPM has done;
b) they will benefit from the Package for the rest of their lives; this shows the government really appreciate what this generation had contributed, which goes beyond just a gesture;
c) they will receive this Package regardless of their income;
d) the funding of this Package is fully provided in this Budget, which means this is a
responsible government that does not want to pass this burden on to the future
government, whoever the future leadership is going to be.
The Budget also addresses health-care cost concerns, as well as financial assistance for pre-school and tertiary education, especially for those from low and middle-income families. These measures are expected to strengthen social support.
With regard to promoting quality growth, the Budget rolled out incentives to foster growth based on innovation and deeper capabilities and create higher-value industries and quality jobs and sustain rising incomes for Singaporeans.
Interestingly, a number of the issues covered in the Singapore Budget 2014, was raised in the ISCA Pre-Budget Roundtable held in January 2014. The points brought up included the concern over businesses’ focus on costs rather than innovation and transforming capabilities; the need to further incentivise R&D; greater financing for SMEs, including crowd funding; and encouraging businesses to seize growth opportunities overseas.
I believe there is much room for thought-provoking dialogue and exchange of views, and our panelists will have a very interesting discussion later.
But before that, Minister Teo will be sharing more about Budget 2014 in his keynote address. It is an honour and privilege to hear from the Minister of State for Trade and Industry and ISCA Advisor on this topic, and I believe we are looking forward to hear his views.
Before I end off, I would like to wish everyone a fruitful and enjoyable session ahead. Thank you.