'Income from reserves is crucial. We cannot have income growth if we just leave the money in fixed deposits,' said Mrs Lim Hwee Hua. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
THE questions came thick and fast, but Senior Minister of State for Finance Lim Hwee Hua responded assuringly.
Singapore's reserves will not be depleted by losses incurred by Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), she said.
Fixed deposits, urged by some, may be safe but won't provide income growth - crucial to building up reserves.
These and other key issues were addressed by Mrs Lim in a 90-minute dialogue session titled 'Youth's Role for Budget 2009' with Young PAP (YP) members yesterday.
YP chairman Teo Ser Luck and vice-chairman Christopher De Souza were present.
In Parliament last week, Mrs Lim revealed that Temasek's net portfolio value dropped 31 per cent between March 31 and Nov 30 last year, from $185 billion to $127 billion.
GIC also saw a decline in the value of its investments last year but the numbers were not disclosed.
Yesterday, Mrs Lim explained that GIC's investment in 'dangerous asset classes' was not a sudden move but was a slowly evolving strategy, adding:
'Income from reserves is crucial. We cannot have income growth if we just leave the money in fixed deposits.'
The key now is to make returns by putting reserves in good long-term positions, using a balanced portfolio to diversify risks, she said.