A view of Pulau Bukom, where Shell has a manufacturing facility.  (Source: straitstimes.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – Singapore will impose a carbon tax from next year in an effort to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on February 19 that the tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

The tax, to be applied to all sectors, will be 5 SGD (3.8 USD) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023, after which the levy will be reviewed and possibly raised to between 10 SGD and 15 SGD per tonne by 2030.

The levy will affect about 30-40 companies, mainly from the petroleum refining, chemicals and semiconductor sectors, the Straits Times reported.

However, Heng said the new carbon tax would encourage businesses to take measures to reduce emissions, making them more competitive as tighter limits are imposed by more countries when international deals come into force.

Singapore expects to collect carbon tax revenues of nearly 1 billion SGD in the first five years, but the government is willing to spend more than that to help companies, he said.

Singapore ranks 26th out of 142 countries in terms of emissions per capita based on the latest International Energy Agency data largely due to its small size and dense population, according to the government.

The most notable step has been the 197-nation Paris Agreement, inked in 2015, which calls for limiting global warming to "well under" 2 degrees Celsius, and "pursuing efforts" to cap warming at 1.5 degrees C. - VNA