NDR 2022: Prime Minister Lee says GST hike needed for health care and social spending

SINGAPORE – The imminent increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is necessary as Singapore’s population is aging rapidly, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his Mandarin speech at the National Day rally at ITE College Central to Ang Mo Kio Sunday August 21st. .

Singapore must be prepared to take better care of the elderly, including providing more drug subsidies to reduce the burden of healthcare costs on elderly Singaporeans and their families.

More hospitals, polyclinics and other facilities also need to be built to enable them to access medical services. All of this means that Singapore’s health and social spending is rising sharply, he said.

“Not raising the GST would be a politically expedient decision. However, it would be irresponsible,” he said.

“While people are worried about not having enough money to spend, the government is also worried about not having enough money,” he said. He added that he was concerned that he would not have enough resources to take care of low-income families and the health care needs of the elderly.

One in six Singaporeans is aged 65 and over. By 2030, that number will increase to one in four, with mature estates seeing their population go gray sooner.

Prime Minister Lee said many of his Teck Ghee residents were young married couples when he was first elected as an MP in the 1980s. More and more of them now need walking sticks and of wheelchairs.

“While I am happy that they continue to participate in community activities, I am also concerned for them, as their health care needs will certainly increase over the years,” he said.

“Therefore, we must be ready to take better care of the elderly.”