Singapore’s Finance Minister has called on all government agencies to “do better – and more – with less” in Budget 2017, as its spending on healthcare and infrastructure sectors increases.
Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a “permanent” 2% cut in the budget caps for all ministries and state agencies from FY 2017 onwards. The budget cap is calculated as a percentage of the GDP, and the cut will decrease the growth rate of ministerial budgets from this year.
Budget cap cuts to Home Affairs, Defence, Health and Transport will be phased in over this financial year and the next.
Additional funds from the cuts will be used for “cross-agency projects”, like the Municipal Services Office, he added.
As Singapore’s population ages, the government’s annual healthcare spending has doubled over the last five years, ending up at $10 billion last year. “Healthcare spending will continue to rise as our population ages,” he added.
Public transport spending is another growth area with the government to spend over $20 billion over the next five years.
“With our spending needs increasing, the Government must continue to spend judiciously, emphasise value-for-money and drive innovation in delivery,” he said.
The Government is looking to cutting-edge procurement tools to help ministries make better buying decisions. “Going ahead, there could be new innovations like using artificial intelligence to improve procurement decisions,” Chia Ser Huei, Director of Performance and Resource Management has told GovInsider.
Government officials must also meet with industry and understand what is in the market to get the best deals, he advised.
See also: How Singapore Plans to Spend $20Bn