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Thread: Mah: No delay to HDB, govt building projects

  1. #1
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    Default Mah: No delay to HDB, govt building projects

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapor...ry_299341.html

    November 7, 2008 Friday

    Mah: No delay to HDB, govt building projects

    By Grace Chua


    PUBLIC housing and government building projects will not be delayed on account of the economic downturn, said Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan yesterday evening.

    'Demand is still very, very strong. As long as there is a demand, we will continue to build,' he said, on public housing.

    Speaking after chairing a public forum on sustainable development in Singapore, Mr Mah said more than 8,000 new HDB units are scheduled to be built this year.

    On other building projects, he said: 'Other government projects...infrastructure projects, MRT projects, road-building, schools, all those things we felt are urgent and necessary - for example, retrofitting Nanyang Technological University for the Youth Olympic Games - all are on track. It's something we need to do.'

    The forum, which focused on physical-environment issues such as energy efficiency and biodiversity, was held at the Urban Redevelopment Authority centre in Maxwell Road. About 200 people attended, including architects, engineers, students, teachers, nature enthusiasts and the managing director of a company that builds solar-energy systems.

    Questions at the lively discussion ranged from the technical, such as those on solar power and energy-efficiency incentives, to the practical, including adding more greenery to HDB blocks and building bicycle paths.

    It was the second of two public discussions on sustainable development. Last week's session was chaired by Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who co-chairs a committee with Mr Mah to think up ways to promote economic growth and preserve natural resources.

    Both forums drew topics from a website launched in July, for the public to offer suggestions.

    More than 1,000 have been received and will be considered as officials draw up a sustainable-development blueprint for the next 10 to 15 years, expected to be ready next year.

  2. #2
    CNA Guest

    Default Economists Say Government Could Increase Spending By S$10b


    Economists say government could increase spending by S$10b
    Wong Siew Ying
    Channel NewsAsia
    Friday, 7 November 2008, 2015 hrs



    Economists expect Singapore's government to increase its spending by up to S$10 billion next year.

    Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Thursday that the next budget will be an "expansionary" one, which means the government will be spending more and collecting less.

    With corporate earnings hit by the economic slowdown, analysts said on Friday that the private sector will scale back significantly on spending and investment.

    Song Seng Wun, CEO & regional economist, CIMB-GK Research, said: "Financing is not a problem. Since the new term, the government has been able to record fairly substantial surpluses and with the change in constitution, it allows them to dip into reserves. They do have a larger war chest to deal with this downturn."

    One way to pump-prime the economy is to keep infrastructure projects flowing.

    Market watchers said the government is likely to start public sector projects which were deferred earlier. About S$4.7 billion worth of projects were held back till 2010 to ease pressure on the construction sector.

    The government is also expected to inject more funds into the research and bio-medical sector, which is likely to create more jobs.

    Analysts said the government could also help individuals and companies by offering tax incentives. They do not rule out a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will go some way to help lower the cost of living.

    Older workers, in particular, may be given an extra lift through the Workfare Bonus Scheme a programme to encourage low-wage workers to take on jobs.

    Heng Chee How, deputy secretary-general of NTUC, said: "In a recession, it (workfare bonus) is something that you could look at because cash flow is something that workers are also concerned about."

    Analysts said needy families are also likely to get more assistance through a range of rental and utility rebates.

    On the whole, they expect many of the potential budgetary measures to be one-offs, designed to help cushion the impact of the downturn.

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