Looking Ahead: Singapore’s Budget 2018

February 22nd, 2018

Singapore is continuing to put priorities on skill upgrading for its local workforce and possible tax increases, such as a hike in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Focus on economic transformation for Singapore Budget 2018, and continued support for Singaporean workers to keep up to speed will be high up on the Government’s priorities in 2018.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be delivering the new budget on February 19 and market watchers are eagerly anticipating clarification on new tax increases and to hear the plan on how balance will be maintained between the country’s growing spending needs and preserving fiscal stability.

Due to rapid technology growth and other factors Singapore’s labor market is fast changing. Combine that with an aging and shrinking workforce which is prompting the government to encourage its workforce to be open to additional learning and training to be better prepared for future jobs.

SkillsFuture and training schemes such as the Professional Conversion Programmes under Workforce Singapore, and more recently, the set-up of the Global Innovation Alliance for Singaporeans to gain overseas experience are among many policies that have been rolled out over the years to support the Singapore workforce. However, change is still a key issue for the economy and the new budget will likely see more policies rolled out to help the workforce acquire more skills to help meet labor demands of the future.

“Structural unemployment is an issue that the Government is concerned about,” said Nomura economist Brian Tan. Structural unemployment is caused by an imbalance in the skills of a worker and those required by an employer. “You will find a lot of support for the ongoing re-skilling and up-skilling efforts aimed at helping people move from one industry to another, especially the PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) who have lost their jobs,” Mr Tan added.

Lastly, Singaporians are anticipating the announcement of new tax hikes as Singapore adjusts to the evolving needs of their country-state. One such tax hike would be the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as economists and tax experts predict since Singapore’s GST rates remain comparatively low compared to other surrounding regional countries. That’s an example of one such tax hike possibility. Singapore citizens eagerly await Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s budget announcement this month.

Tiger Consulting has been doing business in Asia for 25+ years. As the “man on the street” in Asia-Pacific providing Asian HR, payroll and business support services throughout the region, Tiger-Consulting specializes in companies that have or want to have 1-100 employees in Asia. The company currently serves 300+ businesses spanning industries including IT, telecom, social networking, fashion, finance, pharmaceuticals, travel, recruitment, Gas & Oil and hospitality.

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Mercy Mildener
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