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Singapore Finmin Sees Slower Growth; Unveils Industry Transformation Programme

Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the economy faces strong headwinds from the weakness in the global economy but there is no reason to be overly pessimistic.

In his 2016 budget speech unveiled on Thursday, Heng said although growth is subdued, business landscape is varied and there are pockets of growth and resilience.

The government expects the city-state economy to grow in the range of 1 percent to 3 percent in 2016 compared to 2 percent expansion in 2015.

He plans to launch the Industry Transformation Programme to strengthen enterprises and industry, and to drive growth through innovation. He set aside S$4.5 billion for the programme.

The minister said the government will adopt an expansionary fiscal stance to address cyclical weaknesses.

He raised the corporate income tax rebate to 50 percent of tax payable from 30 percent, with a cap of S$20,000 each year.

The government spending on education is forecast to be S$12.8 billion in FY16. Total spending on public infrastructure projects will be S$5 billion higher than in FY2015, he said.

Further, the government plans to defer levy increases for work permit holders in marine and process sectors for one year in the view of challenging business conditions and the reduction in the number of permit holders.

by RTT Staff Writer

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