Conversations on Our Way Forward
Conversations on Our Way Forward (30 March 2022)
NYC organised a hybrid post-Budget 2022 dialogue on 30 March 2022, involving 226 youths and the following panellists:
- Minister Indranee Rajah – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development
- Mr Alvin Tan – Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry
- Mr Wong Jin Feng – PAYM Council Member and Chairman, Nee Soon East Youth Network
- Ms Faridah Saad – President of MENDAKI Club and NYC INSPIRIT member
During the session, the four Budget 2022 themes were discussed: (i) Investing in New Capabilities; (ii) Advancing Singapore’s Green Transition; (iii) Building a Fairer and More Resilient Tax System; and (iv) Renewing and Strengthening our Social Compact.
Here are the key insights of the conversation raised by the participants:
Cost of Living
Youths were concerned about rising cost of living and potential trickle-down effects of GST hike on consumers.
- Min Indranee shared that the GST hike had been delayed since 2020 and would be staggered with a percentage point increase in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
- She said that a GST increase aimed to generate revenue to address increasing expenditure and healthcare costs of Singapore’s ageing population. She added the trade-offs that the Government considered, such as borrowing money, utilising reserves and income from the Net Investment Return Contributions (NIRC) and land sales.
- Min Indranee shared that the Assurance Package and Household Support Package would cushion the pressures of the GST hike for majority of Singaporeans over 5 years and for lower income families over 10 years.
- The increase in GST, property and wealth taxes were ways Singapore adopted to build a fairer and more resilient tax system.
Youths were concerned whether they were disadvantaged if they were not working in sectors such as green economy and technology.
- Ms Faridah said that youths should be aware of the economy’s direction and future workplace, and to upgrade their skills accordingly to remain relevant.
- Mr Wong said that the additional $200 million set aside by the Government would help strengthen Singapore’s digital capabilities, enable workers to upgrade their skills and knowledge, and help businesses innovate and improve their work processes.
Working Towards a Greener and Sustainable Singapore
Youths asked how net-zero emissions would be achieved to secure a sustainable future.
- Min Indranee shared some efforts by the Government to achieve a greener and more sustainable lifestyle e.g. investments in infrastructure, accelerating the introduction of electric vehicles and researching sustainable materials for construction.
Youths said they were concerned how consumers would be impacted by the increase in carbon tax
- Min Indranee explained how the Government is encouraging carbon efficiency through increasing carbon tax, and revenue from the tax collection would help support businesses to minimise costs being passed down to consumers.
- Ms Faridah said that Singapore was also in the process of buying carbon credits to offset its carbon footprint.
Renewing and Strengthening Our Social Compact
Youth surfaced the need for more mental well-being support
- MOS Tan said that the Government set up an inter-agency task force address youths’ concerns about mental health, to increase the number of peer supporters and access to resources.
Youth were concerned about how gig workers would be supported by Budget 2022 measures.
- MOS Tan said that the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme would help to provide financial assistance for these workers.
Youths have a stake in Singapore’s future
- Mr Wong encouraged youths to utilise available grants and support schemes from the Government. He called for youths to participate in more dialogues and share their perspectives.
- Ms Faridah encouraged youths to advocate for causes they cared about, and leverage their insights when ideating solutions within their networks.
Graphical capture of the context setting by MOF:
Graphical capture of the panel discussion:
Budget Announcements And Its Relevance To Youth
In line with the topics raised and discussed at the engagement, a recent news article corroborated these youth concerns that were surfaced and laid out the Government’s plans to bring forward certain measures to support Singaporeans, especially lower income families to manage cost of living, and businesses with rising cost. Read more about it here!