Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

TL;DR – Here’s where the money goes.

It’s that time of the year again. February might be the month where love is in the air. But, it’s also known for being Singapore’s “budget season”, where the Minister of Finance would lay out plans for the coming year’s budget. 

While we typically spend across a wide range of initiatives by the different ministries, there are several mainstays that we allocate a larger chunk of the budget to. What on earth are they? We list the top 5 expenditures in our typical Singapore budget.

1. Defence

About 30% of the Government’s total expenditure in FY2019 was being set aside to support defence, which plays an important role in protecting Singapore’s sovereignty and Singaporeans’ well-being.

This would also include addressing the safety and basic needs of the whole community so that life may go on as normally as possible during emergencies – such as stockpiling critical supplies like blood, diversifying sources of water and strengthening food security.

2. Education

The Government has come up with various initiatives to provide affordable, well-rounded education to Singaporean regardless of their education and financial background. The aim is to help them discover their talents and realise their full potential, and nurture them into committed citizens. 

A portion of the Education budget is also set aside to train high-quality graduate manpower to support Singapore’s economic needs, and to support the universities’ research efforts. 

The budget has also been provisioned for SkillsFuture programme, a national initiative that aims to promote a culture of lifelong learning and to strengthen the system of quality education and training in Singapore.

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3. Healthcare 

Healthcare is often a  key focus, with more funds being earmarked for subsidies. This will go a long way to help Singaporeans mitigate healthcare costs and offer them greater healthcare assurance. 

Funds are set aside for various initiatives ranging from enhanced CHAS subsidies, to MediSave top-ups as well as big healthcare projects like CareShield Life and Long-Term Care Support Fund.

Healthcare spending will continue to increase as the Ministry of Health plans to increase patient subsidies while expanding clinical services and capacity and enhancing healthcare quality. 

4. Transport

The Ministry of Transport’s mission is to strengthen Singapore’s transportation connectivity and develop the transport sector’s potential to advance our economic competitiveness and quality of life.  

They cover the various aspects of land, air and sea transport.

An exciting project 20-Minute Towns, 45-Minute City” is an ambitious move to that should see journeys to the nearest neighbourhood centre completed within 20 minutes, and peak-period journeys to the city completed within 45 minutes. 

This Land Transport Master Plan aims to make sure seamless integration of public, active and shared transport networks achieves this goal by 2040. 

5. Home Affairs

Also known as the Home Team, the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for Singapore’s national security, public safety, civil defence, border control, and immigration. 

The MHA will also be accounted for advance payments to the Home Team’s Gurkha officers when they go on home leave or pre-retirement leave, and for their retirement gratuity. 

Even though we touched on some portions of the budget expenditure, it is only a fraction of what the entire Singapore budget entails.

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There is also spending on Trade and Industry, National Development, Social and Family Development, Environment and Water Resources, Culture, Community and Youth, Manpower, Communications and Information, Prime Minister’s Office, Finance, Organs of State, Law and last but not least, the Foreign Affairs.

A term of government lasts from one general election to another, and hence each year’s budget should be seen as a part of a series of the national budget that spans across a few years.

And you can read more about how the Government funds our national budget here.

The Scary Thing About Singapore’s Budget


By Zahra

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