President Halimah Yacob approves Budget 2018

Singapore

PRESIDENT Halimah Yacob has given her assent to this year's Supply Bill, supported by independent advice and recommendations from the Council of Presidential Advisers.

Madam Halimah made the announcement in a Facebook post on Tuesday, which said that Budget 2018 has the "right balance of preparing us for the future" while also helping Singaporeans weather disruptions ahead.

The Supply Bill, which authorises how much the government can spend within each financial year, requires the approval of the President.

"We are faced with tremendous challenges in the face of rising protectionism, threats to global security and geopolitical shifts. As a small country which is very dependent on trade and investments, our survival depends on an open and fair global trading system which is under threat," she said.

Madam Halimah added that Singapore needs to prepare for a rapidly ageing population and huge transformations fuelled by technology.

"Heavy investments in infrastructure, building our people's capabilities and strengthening our social programmes will ensure that we continue to maintain social cohesion and inclusivity, even as we keep Singapore competitive."

A slight overall budget deficit of S$0.6 billion, or 0.1 per cent of gross domestic product, is expected for FY 2018 while government expenditure is expected to rise.

Total spending by the ministries should hit S$80 billion in fiscal 2018, or 8.3 per cent more year on year, mainly due to increased spending in transport, trade and industry and domestic security.

The Budget, however, is unlikely to draw on Singapore's past reserves.