This being Singapore’s 50th year of independence, Budget 2015 is also known as the “Jubilee Budget”, and focuses on preparing Singapore for the future.
The Government has presented a measured response to the global and domestic issues facing the nation. Budget 2015 continues the theme of economic transformation and progress, with initiatives to future-proof the country and secure its place in the global economy.
SkillsFuture, an umbrella initiative that provides opportunities for every citizen to develop themselves, was launched to promote the mastery of skills in every job and for all Singaporeans. To support this, the Government intends to increase continuing education and training spending to average of over S$1 billion per year from now to 2020. Furthermore, the National Productivity Fund will be topped up by S$1.5 billion.
Likewise, SMEs will find increased support for their efforts in innovating as well as internationalising their operations. The Capability Development Grants will be extended, and made more accessible with a simplified application process. Other funding schemes have been introduced to further reduce the funding gaps for start-ups. The new International Growth Scheme is aimed at supporting local SMEs’ efforts to expand overseas, while retaining key business activities in Singapore.
Social infrastructure and support will be enhanced in multiple ways, such as through enhancements to CPF savings and the Silver Support Scheme where eligible seniors will receive quarterly supplements. Singaporean families will also receive further support in areas of childcare and education.
The top-tier personal income tax rate was raised by 2 percentage points to 22% to help meet increased expenditure in social spending and major infrastructure projects.
Many commentators have called Budget 2015 holistic, comprehensive, progressive. I believe there is much room for thought-provoking dialogue and exchange of views. I look forward to hearing from our panel of experts later.
Before that, we are pleased and honoured to have Prof Sum Yee Loong, Professor of Accounting at Singapore Management University, to give a detailedpresentation on2015 Budget Update and its Tax Implications.
Have an enjoyable and fruitful session ahead. Thank you.