SINGAPORE: If Budget 2022 was memorable for rolling out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike, Budget 2023 should be noted for the Government’s spending and investment plans.
The projected budget deficit of 0.1 per cent of gross domestic product this year on the back of a deficit in the last financial year suggests a generous Budget – one that recognised the stresses faced by citizens and businesses, notwithstanding the need to balance the Budget over this term of government.
In his first Budget speech as Prime Minister-in-waiting, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced policy measures on Tuesday (Feb 14) that were intended to “move Singapore forward in a new era”.
As expected, this included providing Singaporeans more assurance on issues of the greatest concern at this time: Inflation and housing affordability.
Enhancements to the Assurance Package and permanent GST Voucher will provide greater support to households to cope with the rising cost of living. Meanwhile, first-timer families will welcome having up to S$30,000 in additional housing grants to ease worries they may be priced out of the red-hot HDB resale market.
There will always be a tension between providing assurance and avoiding a dependency mindset where citizens come to expect the Government to insulate them from economic shocks and uncertainties.
But those with such concerns should bear in mind that providing assurance is also an investment in people, giving them confidence to step into a new era of heightened challenges.
Part of this confidence comes from providing assurance across life stages, such as helping parents with the cost of raising kids and giving them a good start in life, supporting platform workers with the transition to employee Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for better retirement adequacy, and topping up the ElderCare Fund and MediFund for seniors’ long-term healthcare needs.
More at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/singapore-budget-2023-gst-assurance-tax-trust-3279841
Which is why I always put a cross against WP on my ballot slip during each GE to help the generous PAP :P
Ownself praise ownself as being generous, why am I not surprised.
Heng ah I quit smoking sometime back liao
Oh well, get ready for an even greater proliferation of contraband cigarette sales in the foreseeable future then.
SINGAPORE — All Singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive cash payouts of between S$700 and S$2,250, which will be distributed over five years, to help them cope with high inflation and the planned hike of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 9 per cent next year.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday (Feb 14) that these payouts are part of a S$3 billion enhancement to the Assurance Package, which was first announced in 2020 as a S$6 billion raft of measures to cushion the impact of the GST hike.
The package was topped up by S$640 million at Budget 2022, and then Mr Wong said in November that year that the Government would top it up by another S$1.4 billion, adding that he would give further details in his Budget 2023 statement.
In his Budget 2023 speech, Mr Wong, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, noted that Singaporeans have to “brace themselves for a period of relatively higher inflation”, both globally and at home.
“We cannot say how long this will last, but we expect Singapore’s headline inflation to remain high, at least for the first half of this year,” he said.
Mr Wong said the enhancements to the Assurance Package and the GST Voucher scheme will provide comprehensive help for the majority of Singaporean households this year.
Said Mr Wong: “For lower-income households, the enhancements will fully cover the increases in spending due to inflation and the GST rate increase.”
To illustrate, he said a lower-income family with two young children will receive about S$5,500 in benefits.
This will include cash, government top-ups to the Child Development Account for their children, MediSave top-ups and U-Save rebates, among others.
Cash payouts under the Assurance Package for adult Singaporeans will be increased by between S$300 and S$650 over the remaining periods of the package.
As a result, the total amount they will receive between 2022 and 2026 will range from S$700 to S$2,250, depending on income and property ownership, every December during this period.
For example, those earning an assessable income of S$34,000 or less a year and do not own more than one property will receive between S$250 and S$600 yearly. Factoring in the S$200 such individuals received in December last year, this will amount to S$2,250 over five years.
Those earning more than S$100,000 a year will receive smaller amounts of between S$100 and S$200 a year, totalling S$700.
About 2.9 million adult Singaporeans are expected to benefit from this.
More at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/budget-2023-cash-payouts-between-s700-and-s2250-over-5-years-adult-sporeans-part-enhanced-assurance-package-2107516