Singapore to spend more on homeland security

The Republic will have to spend more on homeland security in the coming decade, Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said citing growing threats and the need to raise the level of preparedness among Singaporeans. Speaking to reporters after viewing a joint counter-terrorism drill by the security forces, Mr Heng said spending on this front will be a “very major item” on the Government’s expenditure going ahead. But he declined to give specific numbers, adding that more details will be released during the Budget statement. “The security threats we are facing is among the highest in recent years, and so it is important that we take action to prepare ourselves to keep Singapore safe and secure,” said Mr Heng.

Singapore’s security spending has increased steadily from S$14.8 billion in the 2011 financial year (FY) to S$19.5 billion in the FY2016. About 27 per cent of the Government’s total spending in FY 2016 was on the security sector. In order to continue funding such expenditures, the Government would also need to map out its “long term expenditure projections as well as long term revenue needs”, said Mr Heng, adding that he would address this subject as well during his Budget statement.

The Government’s expenditure had more than doubled from S$33 billion in FY 2007 to S$71 billion in FY2016. In this period, social spending increased by 5 per cent, while spending on infrastructure rose to 7 per cent. There has been talk that taxes could be raised this year to meet the country’s future needs.