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Land reclamation projects to combat climate change can be funded from past reserves: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE — To finance the fight against climate change, smaller-scale infrastructure such as flood barriers can be funded from the Government’s Budget each year, while “long-lived major” infrastructure — including sea walls — could involve borrowing, said Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3).

Land reclamation projects to combat climate change can be funded from past reserves: Lawrence Wong

Funding of long-lived major infrastructure to combat climate change could involve borrowing, said the Government.

SINGAPORE — To finance the fight against climate change, smaller-scale infrastructure such as flood barriers can be funded from the Government’s Budget each year, while “long-lived major” infrastructure — including sea walls — could involve borrowing, said Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3).

When land reclamation is involved, the costs will come from Singapore’s past reserves and the value of the reclaimed land after it is sold in the future will be fully returned to the reserves, said Mr Wong, who is also the National Development Minister.

“The reclamation of land is in essence a conversion of past reserves — from financial assets to state land. This use is not a draw on past reserves,” said Mr Wong, adding that this arrangement is part of the Reserves Protection Framework agreed between the Government and the President, whose constitutional role is to safeguard the national reserves.

Mr Wong was answering a parliamentary question by Associate Professor Walter Theseira, who had asked about the extent to which this policy to fund land reclamation will be applied to the S$100 billion climate change costs announced in this year’s National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

The Nominated MP asked in a supplementary question: “Is the commitment then… that the cost of land reclamation will be coming from past reserves, without drawing down or (having) requirement on raising taxes, or is it going to be flexible based on the Finance Minister at the time?”

Mr Wong said the framework already allows the Government to use the past reserves for all land reclamation projects.

“That is already the case today and that is the way in which we operate currently,” he said.

Last month, a Mediacorp poll found that young people were evenly split in their views on whether climate change mitigation measures — which would benefit future generations when the works are completed — should be funded by current taxes (41 per cent) or national reserves (42 per cent). A minority (18 per cent) wants it to come from taxes on future generations.

“MOF will continue to study equitable and sustainable ways to finance the full suite of climate adaptation measures we need to protect our island,” said Mr Wong.

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climate change land reclamation reserves infrastructure

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