Singapore’s Budget 2013 to address quality growth and an inclusive society

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has announced the Singapore’s Budget for the financial year starting 1 April 2013, which can be summarized into the following highlights:

  • Expected growth of 1% to 3% for 2013.
  • More schemes to encourage quality growth, through innovation and higher productivity.
  • A three-year co-funding package under a new Wage Credit Scheme to help companies raise their employee’s wages.
  • Productivity incentives to companies for skills upgrading.
  • Dependency ratio ceiling cuts to be made in sectors which are behind global productivity standards. Levies will also be increased on industries most dependent on foreign workers.
  • Eligibility tightening for Employment Pass holders in lower-level jobs.
  • All levies on foreign workers will rise in July 2014 and July 2015, varying by sector.
  • Enhancements to be made to the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme.
  • A more progressive fiscal system to help lower and middle-income groups and address income inequality.
  • Review of healthcare financing system and other schemes to help older Singaporeans.
  • Property tax changes. Band for zero property tax will be widened. Property tax for high-end investment residential properties will be raised.
  • Investment holding companies or property development companies incorporated after 25 February 2013 to be excluded from the start-up tax exemption.
  • Tobacco taxes to be harmonized across cigarette and non-cigarette products.
  • Housing and hotel accommodation provided to employees will be taxed based on the annual value and cost, taking effect from the 2015 tax assessment year.
  • Transport improvements. Some public transport routes will be tendered to private operators.
  • Greater investment in sports and cultural programmes.

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