SINGAPORE: Singapore is weighing options including the issuance of government bonds to fund the S$100bil (US$72.3bil) it could take to fight rising sea levels over the next century.
In the short term, funding for projects such as a USS$400mil upgrade to the city-state’s drainage systems to boost flood resilience would come from ministry-level expenditures, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli(pic) said in an interview.
Longer-term spending, he said, could require the government to tap its national reserves and issue state bonds.
“For those that have to be spent that will benefit future generations, we’re talking about borrowing so that whatever we spend for the future will also be paid for by the future generations, ” Masagos told Bloomberg TV. “S$100bil is actually a lot of money even if spent over 100 years.”
The climate change push was a key prong of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally address on Sunday where he urged Singaporeans to “bend at the knee to safeguard” the country.
He said all new developments would have to be built at least four metres above sea level, while the government would also consider building polders to protect existing low-lying areas and reclaiming land for offshore islands.
In growing the country’s land mass, Singapore has traditionally relied on importing sand from other countries, a method that carries environmental consequences. Neighbouring Malaysia said last month it had banned all sea sand exports last year, while Indonesia and Cambodia have already halted sand exports to limit damage to its environment. — Bloomberg