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Round Up Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the Second Reading of the Economic Expansion Incentives (Relief from Income Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2020

Round Up Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the Second Reading of the Economic Expansion Incentives (Relief from Income Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2020

1. Sir, Ms Anthea Ong asked whether the Government takes into account the carbon emissions of economic activities that we incentivize, and whether the EEIA could incentivize activities that reduce Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. The short answer to both questions is “yes”.  Singapore’s strategies to reduce carbon emissions are formulated at the national level through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, which has been formed since 2007. These in turn shape how we work with our companies and industries, both existing and new, to make the necessary adjustments to prepare for a carbon-constrained future.

3. When assessing applications for incentives, including those under the EEIA, we will give priority to investments that are aligned to our national objectives. Carbon emissions is an important consideration, but it is not the only criterion. We will also evaluate if the investment contributes to Singapore’s economy, advances our capabilities, and creates good jobs for Singaporeans.

4. In the area of the petrochemical industry, for example, this is an important sector for Singapore, in terms of direct and indirect contributions to the economy, to jobs and to livelihoods. What we will do is that we will work with the industry players to make sure that what we have in Singapore is best-in-class. Because we do not just produce to meet Singapore’s domestic needs. Our petrochemical industry actually serves the whole world – consumers in different parts of the world. So we will work with them and implement measures that will meet best-in-class standards for this industry.

5. Sir, Ms Anthea Ong also spoke about coastal protection. Indeed, this is something that we take seriously. Singapore takes our climate change commitments seriously because we know we need to do our part. We want to be a responsible stakeholder. And hopefully, this will also set a good example for other countries to do likewise.

6. I say this because climate change requires global action. Singapore’s actions alone will not be adequate. If other countries do not follow suit, we will not be able to tackle this global challenge together. So when we invest in protecting our shorelines, this is something that we are investing to protect both the current and future generations of Singaporeans. But in order for sea levels not to rise significantly, it goes beyond what Singapore can do alone. This is why we hope that the world can work together, to find solutions and tackle climate change together.

 

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