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Political Prude with Joel Lim (21 January 2022)

Info-encer Joel Lim hosted an Instagram Live discussion on Pre-Budget 2022, with Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah and Mr Azri Zulfarhan, PAYM Council Member and Young NTUC Committee Chairperson as special guests.

During the session, Min Indranee Rajah and Mr Azri Zulfarhan shared insights on the budget process, how it affects Singaporeans and why youths should care about it. They also addressed concerns youths have regarding the 2% GST increase, upskilling and job retention, support for self-employed persons and vulnerable groups in Singapore. 

Here are the key insights of the conversation raised by the participants:

Theme 1: Preparing Singapore for a greener and more sustainable future

  • Youths believe that a sustainable Singapore is important.
  • Min Indranee shared that given finite resources and climate change, moving forward as a sustainable nation has become urgent. She also shared that the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which was launched last year, would be one of the focus areas of Budget 2022. 
  • Mr Azri shared that youths are leading a change in starting ground up initiatives on sustainability, e.g. through upcycling. In addition, more youths are speaking out on their concerns about climate change and taking preventative steps. He emphasised that more needs to be done for Singapore to move forward as a sustainable nation. 

Theme 2: Thriving in a post-COVID world

Jobs and Future of Work and Economy

  • Many youths shared that they intended to leave their job or had left their job within the last 2 years due to reasons including low salary and poor employee benefits, toxic work culture, lack of career progression opportunities and feeling unfulfilled about their job. Min Indranee said that although the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) and SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package provides businesses with assistance on recruiting efforts, business owners should strive for an employee friendly workplace in order to retain employees.
  • Min Indranee said that youths should look out for opportunities amidst the uncertainties arising from COVID and work on soft skills such as drive, initiative, willingness to learn, teamwork and enthusiasm to impress employers. 
  • Mr Azri encouraged youths to pursue skillsets that match current trends and advised youths to network with industry professionals through opportunities like NTUC’s LIT DISCOvery.

GST increase 

  • Youths shared concerns on the GST increase and how it might impact their daily lives and the cost of living of lower income families. 
  • Min Indranee said that the GST increase is essential for the nation to plan for growing healthcare needs arising from our ageing population, and to cover other expenditure in areas such as security and sustainability. The Government had put in place plans to cushion Singaporeans against the impact of the GST increase, e.g. Assurance Package to delay the impact of the GST increase over the next 5 – 10 years. 

Theme 3: Strengthening our social compact to build a fairer and more inclusive home for all. 

  • Youths expressed concerns about the support for the arts, creative and media industries, and mental well-being.
  • Min Indranee shared that support for self-employed persons included the COVID-19 Recovery Grant, Point-to-Point Support Package for taxi and PHC operators, and the Arts and Culture Resilience Package for members of the arts community.
  • Mr Azri shared that Young NTUC has also launched a Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit, and Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (VICPA) to support freelancers.
  • Additionally, Young NTUC also collaborated with NTUC LearningHub and Singapore Anglican Community Services to launch a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ)-certified course on mental well-being to create a community of peer supporters.

Watch the full video here.

Budget 2022 was announced on 18 February by Minister Lawrence Wong. Click through the tabs below for our post-Budget 2022 engagements. 

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