Transcript of DPM Teo Chee Hean's speech at the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clans Association, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Spring Reception 2018, delivered on 18 February 2018.
Fellow Cabinet Ministers,
Members of Parliament,
Members of Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA),
Members of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC),
Community and Grassroots Leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Lunar New Year is a festive occasion for families to gather and celebrate.
I wish everyone good luck and best wishes for the Year of the Dog.
Today, I would like to speak to you on two key issues: (i) Our Economy and Jobs, and (ii) Building a Caring Home.
First, our economy and jobs. Based on preliminary estimates, GDP grew at 3.6%, supported by growth in manufacturing and productivity. This year, we expect economic growth to be between 1.5 to 3.5%.
The Government understands the challenges our businesses and Singaporeans face in this transformation journey. We will continue to work closely with our businesses to be more productive and seek new opportunities and markets.
The Minister for Finance will release the Government’s Budget tomorrow. Although everyone hopes for a “big red packet”, what is more important is how we continue to partner our trade associations and unions to help companies transform and develop new technologies such as in the digital economy. We will also help our workers to raise their knowledge and skills needed for the jobs of the future.
Second, we need to continue to look after each other, and create the best opportunities for our people to succeed.
The Government will continue to help Singaporeans start families, own homes faster, raise children and take good care of our seniors.
Over these years, we have been strengthening our social support system. We now have Medishield Life, and more flexible CPF Life plans to provide more assurance to Singaporeans for life.
Our fundamentals are strong, but we must continue to find ways to prepare for the future and seize new opportunities.
Our citizens are more healthy and living longer. Today, we have about 500,000 seniors aged 65 and above. 12 years later, we expect this to almost double to around 900,0001. The number of citizens aged 80 and above will more than double - from nearly 100,000 today to some 200,000 by 20302.
Healthcare is one area where we will continue to support with more resources, and help our seniors lead active lifestyles. We need to ensure government finances remain sustainable, and are able to provide for our future needs.
Our founding generation has laid down a strong foundation for us and saved resources for the current generation. Similarly, we too must prepare for our next generation, so that our children can have a stronger foundation and the best opportunities to succeed.
Together, we can build a more vibrant and caring home.
I wish all of you and your families good health, happiness and prosperity.
Happy New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
1Department of Statistics. Number of citizens aged 65 and above will increase from 496,000 in 2017 to around 900,000 in 2030.
2Department of Statistics. Number of citizens aged 80 and above will increase from 98,000 in 2017 to around 208,000 in 2030.
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