How Budget is allocated and why youths should care about it

The Budget can help youths to discover what Singapore is investing in for the future.

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 10 February 2023, 6:02 PM

The month of February is always crucial for Singaporeans – and no, it’s not because of Valentine’s Day. 

It’s the month of the Budget, the strategic financial plan to address the challenges facing Singapore, and to build the country’s future.

This year’s Budget is on Feb 14, 3.30pm, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong already announcing that it will be a “Valentine’s Day present” to help Singaporeans cope with the rising costs. 

But, what exactly is done and how is the Budget planned for? To address these concerns, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry Alvin Tan joined the popular podcast, The Daily Ketchup, to divulge the inner workings of the Government when it comes to planning it. 

In the 26-minute episode, Mr Tan linked the Budget to allocating money for a trip – from the amount spent on travels, including air tickets, to the amount spent on leisure activities, including shopping and sightseeing. 

But resources are not infinite, and the amount of money that can be allocated will depend on the amount of revenue that Singapore has. Likening it to how an individual plans for an overseas trip, Mr Tan shared: “How do I even get the funds to get the air ticket, to buy a suitcase, to buy tickets for an attraction? That’s the revenue portion. 

“To put it simply, that’s how it is. In the same way when you run a country, you first need the revenue and the revenue comes from a variety of sources.” 

Mr Tan added that typically these sources include investments, quarterly loans and tax. These revenues then make up the “pie”, and allocation of the money to the different ministries is then done from that pie. 

The ministries – overseeing the different aspects of Singaporeans’ life – will then have to submit their plans for the year to the Ministry of Finance, which will look at it and allocate the money accordingly. 

In the podcast, Mr Tan emphasised that it is important for youths to take an interest in the Budget statement, even though it may appear to be a dry topic. This is because the allocation of the funds would let on what Singapore is looking out for in the future.

Noting how Singapore has set aside 25 billion dollars over the next five years for research innovation and enterprise, Mr Tan shared that it means Singapore is not “just content to sit down and let the world dictate what we do”. 

“We are investing in research, in alternative proteins, i n advanced manufacturing. All of these are future opportunities, so we won’t remain stagnant,” he shared. 

He added that it is during the Budget that youths can understand how much the Government is willing to invest in the future – and on youths.

Podcast host Johnathan Chua chimed in that when he was younger, he understood the Budget as a way to see what the Singapore Government is planning for five to 10 years ahead. It also helped him in deciding what course of education to pursue. 

“You will know what comes into fruition in the next five to 10 years…. There are times when you can see certain industries that’s going to sunset,” he explained. 

“You see the way they (the Government) are pushing industries and pivots to find opportunities for certain industries.” 

While youths may be concerned that the issues they are facing might be diluted as they make up only 20 per cent of the population, they can be reassured that the Government will not stop investing in them. 

This is because they “represent a 100 per cent of our future”, said Mr Tan. “Some will be business leaders, some will be national leaders, or even non-profit leaders,” he added, explaining that Singapore will invest in these youths through education. 

Allocating a budget to cater to the youths will also mean that when they embark on their careers, they will also be able to contribute to the tax pool that provides money for the Government to allocate during the Budget. And during those productive – or working – years, they will have new ideas in creating revenue, which will help the country as a whole, whether it’s taking care of the next generation, or looking after the seniors. 

“So it’s an investment in the future,” Mr Tan said. 

The full episode of The Daily Ketchup Podcast with Mr Tan can be viewed here:

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