SINGAPORE: Security, social needs and the need to keep up with economic restructuring will be key areas in the upcoming Budget, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (Jan 20).
Speaking on the sidelines of a community event, Mr Heng said the Government has done well in providing healthcare and education for the people, but that the needs in those areas are growing.
"At the same time, the need for better security and better ability to defend ourselves is also growing," said Mr Heng. "Budget will focus on these very key areas: on our security, on taking care of our social needs especially in education and healthcare, and of course in transforming our economy."
He said it was important to keep Singapore's economy vibrant in light of significant structural changes in the global economy.
Responding to a question on Brexit, Mr Heng said that while growing protectionism around the world was a concern, Singapore’s response was to stay focused on restructuring the economy and find meaningful partnerships around the world.
Separately on Sunday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that this year's Budget would not see a "large spike in defence spending".
Last year's Budget speech - which Mr Heng also delivered - featured funding for big-ticket transport infrastructure projects such as the now-postponed High Speed Rail to Kuala Lumpur, and a rail link to Johor Bahru. Funds earmarked for transport spending were second only to defence.
The Government also increased spending for the elderly and on Edusave contributions, as well as funding for programmes to help the workforce gain digital skills.
Mr Heng is due to deliver the Budget speech on Feb 18.