ELSON: That “Greatest Love of All” song must have been buzzing somewhere in Heng’s head during his Budget 2017 speech. There’s so many goodies aimed at making the world a better place for the young here. You know, because the children are our future. And hopefully they don’t screw things up.
For starters, there’s even more help for housing under the CPF Housing Grant scheme, which gives young Singaporean couples even more free money – S$50,000 for couples who buy four-room or smaller resale flats, and S$40,000 for couples who buy flats that have five rooms, or are larger resale flats. This is addition to the S$20,000 that they will received in Proximity Housing Grant if they buy a home near their parents’ home. Not bad what.
Then, there’s the education front, where the push is less about sending a man to the moon, but sending more tertiary students overseas to gain experience and network. It seems the government’s push now is to give kids opportunities to learn and adapt to a changing economy. Something lao jiaos didn’t have in our time which would have been useful was an “Innovators Academy” that’s just been announced. It’s supposed to help tertiary students to build connections and capabilities overseas.
For young entrepreneurs, there’s “Innovation Launchpads” which will be established in selected overseas markets to create opportunities to connect with mentors, investors and service providers. And in addition to that, there’s going to be the setting up of a Global Innovation Alliance for Singaporeans to gain overseas experience, build networks and collaborate with counterparts in other innovative cities. For those SME owners who are ready to make that great leap forward to the world stage, there’s a new S$600 million International Partnership Fund which will see co-investment with Singapore-based firms to help them scale-up and internationalise.
For young workers who prefer not to venture too far, there’s the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative, which will support companies to groom Singaporean leaders by expanding leadership development programmes, including sending promising individuals on specialised courses and overseas postings.
So yeah, despite the price increase such as that 30 percent water price hike, this year’s Budget is a good thing for Singaporean youth, if they have the sense and the drive to take advantage of what’s at hand. The emphasis appears to be on diversifying Singapore’s economy and hopefully we can pop another Facebook or Creative Technology to keep the country going. Let’s hope this faith and effort isn’t misplaced.