Singapore’s Fiscal Strategies for Growth: A Journey of Self-Reliance


Authors : Kok Fatt Lee (Future-Moves Group, Singapore)

Publisher : World Scientific

ISBN : 978-981-3228-00-9

"This penetrating and comprehensive book by Lee Kok Fatt is probably the first to be written by a practitioner on Singapore's fiscal policy since the early 1960s; and how that policy has contributed to the country's impressive non-inflationary and stable growth. Kok Fatt has served as Director of Fiscal Policy in the Ministry of Finance, and subsequently as the Principal Private Secretary to the President of Singapore; those two important positions have provided him with a deep and unique grasp of the factors determining the formulation and operation of the fiscal policy of Singapore. He has now compiled what may be regarded as an authoritative text book covering the diverse facets of the Island-State's fiscal policy. It is a valuable reference work for those, particularly students, who want to know more about an important pillar supporting Singapore's remarkable economic growth. Kok Fat deserves praise for his stamina and dedication in completing this important oeuvre."
-- J Y Pillay
Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Singapore

"Prudent fiscal policy has been and remains at the centre of the Singapore's success. To date knowledge of its intricacies has been the preserve of the small handful of civil servants charged with its conduct over the last half a century. Lee Kok Fatt has done a masterful job of illuminating this vital topic for the benefit not only of the general public but also for fiscal planners in Singapore and in the great number of other countries who rightly look to Singapore as an example of getting it right. This book should be required reading for students of Singapore's past success and for civil servants and politicians responsible for ensuring this success is continued."
-- Devadas Krishnadas
Chief Executive Officer, Future-Moves Group and
Author of FUSE: Foresight-driven, Understanding, Strategy and Execution

"Many analysts have rightly attributed Singapore's success to a visionary political leadership and an effective public service well-known for their integrity, efficiency and economic orientation. In contrast, the critical role played by Singapore's fiscal policy has not received the attention that it deserves. This gap in the explanations of the Singapore story is now filled by Kok Fatt's comprehensive account of Singapore's fiscal policy as national strategy. Written in a clear language that translates complex technical issues into simple terms that are easy to understand, this book is not just a useful resource but a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the secrets of Singapore's success."
-- Professor David Chan
Director, Behavioural Sciences Institute
Singapore Management University
Editor of 50 Years of Social Issues in Singapore

"This is an important, readable and lively book. Many developing countries have sought to emulate Singapore's remarkable success, but until now a clear and convincing account of the decisive role of fiscal policy in that story has been lacking. The author, a former Director of Fiscal Policy at Singapore's Ministry of Finance, has deftly remedied that omission, offering insights that development practitioners, government officials and scholars everywhere should study in detail."
-- Max Everest-Phillips
Director of UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence
Singapore's fiscal strategies have helped sustain the country's growth as a small and open economy. This book is a pioneering effort in terms of providing a non-technical, holistic view of Singapore's strategies. The author, formerly Director of Fiscal Policy in Singapore's Ministry of Finance and the Principal Private Secretary to the President of Singapore, provides an insider's bird's eye view of how Singapore's fiscal strategies support monetary and economic policies, and address the needs of Singaporeans.

The book is structured to explain how the various aspects of Singapore's fiscal policies inter-relate and work together as a functioning system, enabling the small city-state to prosper and progress since its independence in 1965. Besides providing a documentation of the development of Singapore's fiscal strategies over the years, the current and impending national challenges to be addressed by fiscal strategies are also discussed. The author also addresses the importance of culture to a nation's success, and highlights the impact of fiscal policy in this regard.
Mr Lee Kok Fatt is currently Senior Adviser at the Future-Moves Group, a strategic management consultancy based in Singapore. Prior to joining the company, Kok Fatt served in the Singapore Civil Service for two decades, during which he held senior positions such as Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to the Singapore President, and Director (Fiscal Policy) at the Ministry of Finance.

Kok Fatt was a Sloan Fellow at the London Business School where he read for a Masters in Management. He also holds a Bachelors of Accounting (First Class) from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
"This penetrating and comprehensive book by Lee Kok Fatt is probably the first to be written by a practitioner on Singapore's fiscal policy since the early 1960s; and how that policy has contributed to the country's impressive non-inflationary and stable growth. Kok Fatt has served as Director of Fiscal Policy in the Ministry of Finance, and subsequently as the Principal Private Secretary to the President of Singapore; those two important positions have provided him with a deep and unique grasp of the factors determining the formulation and operation of the fiscal policy of Singapore. He has now compiled what may be regarded as an authoritative text book covering the diverse facets of the Island-State's fiscal policy. It is a valuable reference work for those, particularly students, who want to know more about an important pillar supporting Singapore's remarkable economic growth. Kok Fat deserves praise for his stamina and dedication in completing this important oeuvre."
-- J Y Pillay
Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Singapore

"Prudent fiscal policy has been and remains at the centre of the Singapore's success. To date knowledge of its intricacies has been the preserve of the small handful of civil servants charged with its conduct over the last half a century. Lee Kok Fatt has done a masterful job of illuminating this vital topic for the benefit not only of the general public but also for fiscal planners in Singapore and in the great number of other countries who rightly look to Singapore as an example of getting it right. This book should be required reading for students of Singapore's past success and for civil servants and politicians responsible for ensuring this success is continued."
-- Devadas Krishnadas
Chief Executive Officer, Future-Moves Group and
Author of FUSE: Foresight-driven, Understanding, Strategy and Execution

"Many analysts have rightly attributed Singapore's success to a visionary political leadership and an effective public service well-known for their integrity, efficiency and economic orientation. In contrast, the critical role played by Singapore's fiscal policy has not received the attention that it deserves. This gap in the explanations of the Singapore story is now filled by Kok Fatt's comprehensive account of Singapore's fiscal policy as national strategy. Written in a clear language that translates complex technical issues into simple terms that are easy to understand, this book is not just a useful resource but a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the secrets of Singapore's success."
-- Professor David Chan
Director, Behavioural Sciences Institute
Singapore Management University
Editor of 50 Years of Social Issues in Singapore

"This is an important, readable and lively book. Many developing countries have sought to emulate Singapore's remarkable success, but until now a clear and convincing account of the decisive role of fiscal policy in that story has been lacking. The author, a former Director of Fiscal Policy at Singapore's Ministry of Finance, has deftly remedied that omission, offering insights that development practitioners, government officials and scholars everywhere should study in detail."
-- Max Everest-Phillips
Director of UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence

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