Thursday, 19 March 2015

Public Expenditures Exceed Budget Estimates

LIM SWEE SAY ASKED TO EXPLAIN WHY PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION SPENDING JUMPS 51.3% TO HIT $1 BILLION

In his reply to parliament regarding an expected 51.3% increase in the People's Association estimated spending for FY2015, Lim Swee Say said that the PA's budget for this year "reflects a higher level of commitment by the Government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony."

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong had submitted a question to parliament asking how the PA's expenditure estimates for FY2015 reached approximately $1 billion. Yee also asked on the projects that accounted for the 115.4% rise in its development expenditure, and why PA's operating expenditure for this financial year rose by 22% from last year.

Out of the $339.6m increase in estimated spending, 70.5% of it was for developing facilities for residents' use.

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Lim Swee Say explains 51% jump in estimated expenditure for PA for FY2015

A 51.3 per cent increase in the estimated expenditure of the People’s Association (PA) this year “reflects a higher level of commitment by the Government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony”, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say on Monday (Mar 9).

Mr Lim stated this in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong. Mr Yee had asked how PA’s expenditure estimates for FY2015 came to top S$1 billion. He also asked for details on the major projects that account for the 115.4 per cent rise in its development expenditure, and why PA's operating expenditure for this financial year would rise by 22 per cent from the previous year.

In response, Mr Lim said that out of the S$339.6 million increase in estimated expenditure, 70.5 per cent is for the development of facilities for residents’ use.

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Higher budget estimates for People's Association is to help community bonding: Lim Swee Say
The 2015 budget estimates allocated to The People's Association (PA) reflect a higher level of commitment by the government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony, Lim Swee Say, Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said on Monday. PHOTO: SPH

The 2015 budget estimates allocated to The People's Association (PA) reflect a higher level of commitment by the government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony, Lim Swee Say, Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said on Monday.

In a written reply to queries over the 51.3 per cent jump in the PA's expenditure estimates to more than S$1 billion for FY2015, Mr Lim said the PA "promotes community bonding in Singapore".

Of the S$339.6 million or 51.3 per cent increase in the estimated Financial Year (FY) 2015 expenditure of the PA, S$239.3 million (70.5 per cent) is for the development of facilities for residents' use.

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PA spending $340 million more this year on new facilities, grassroots efforts

THE People's Association (PA) is spending about $340 million more this year largely on developing new facilities for residents' use, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say said yesterday.

Mr Lim, who is deputy chairman of the PA, gave the answer in a written reply in Parliament to Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong.

Mr Yee had asked why the PA's estimated expenditure for financial year 2015 was expected to jump 51.3 per cent from FY 2014, to over $1 billion.

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MCYS minister: We miscalculated on YOG budget
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan speaking at the PAP rally on 4 May. (Yahoo! photo/ Christine Choo)

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan has admitted that his team had miscalculated the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) budget.

Speaking at the People's Action Party (PAP) rally in Clementi on Wednesday night, Dr Balakrishnan explained what happened to the YOG budget by relating it to his conversation with Thaddaeus Wee, an undergraduate, who asked him about it four days ago on the LRT train at Bukit Panjang.

"We got the initial estimates of the money to be spent on the YOG wrong," Dr Balakrishnan frankly told the 1,000-strong crowd that gathered on the mud-soaked field in Clementi. He explained that the games exceeded its original budget of S$104 million by over three times because it was the first time that such an event was organised and there was no other model for reference.


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YOG budget to exceed three times original estimates to $387 million dollars

At a time when ordinary Singaporeans are struggling to make ends meet, the PAP found fit to splurge an eye-whooping $387 million dollars on the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which has surpassed three times the original estimates.

Speaking to the media yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports Mr Niam Chiang Meng admitted that his ministry may have been “caught off guard” again: “There was no precedent, no template. Maybe we were a bit naive with our initial estimates.” he was quoted as saying in the Straits Times.

However, he insists that the “benefits” of staging the Games will outweigh the increased cost due to international exposure for local companies, an influx of foreign visitors and an international media value exceeding $86 million dollars.


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Singaporeans demand more transparency on blown YOG budget
Would things have been any different if a more reliable estimate of the budget was given?

It was a ‘mistake’, but Dr. Balakrishnan had ‘no regrets’ about spending some $387million on the recent Youth Olympic Games (YOG), more than three times the original budget.

“I think all Singaporeans should be proud of it. It was money well spent – I am quite clear about it,” he said in Parliament in response to questions on the overblown YOG budget. “If we spent $387 million dollars, will we get value from that expenditure? In my mind, the answer … is yes.”

The debate on whether the overblown budget for the YOG games in Singapore was money well-spent had been a hot topic of discussion in the aftermath of the event, with many waiting for the recent Parliament sitting for Dr. Balakrishan to provide details on how the budget had spiraled beyond the original forecast.


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$387m Budget Understates Cost of YOG to Singapore Society

It has been widely reported that the original $104m budget for the YOG ballooned to a massive $387m. These are the direct financial costs of the YOG. However, the following are a few hidden costs of the YOG that, if we were to estimate and put a monetary value on them, could significantly blow up the total cost of the YOG to Singapore Society as a whole.

Firstly, if we were to calculate and add the monetary value of the thousands of man-hours of unpaid forced labour that Secondary, JC and Polytechnic students, as well as their teachers, have to contribute to the YOG, that would add a significant sum to the YOG black hole.

Secondly, consider the opportunity cost of the time spent by these students in the YOG, which they could have spent studying or other productive activity. Some students' grades will definitely suffer because of the time they have to spend on this event. This cost of the YOG has obviously not been factored in.

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Lim Swee Say - Minister in Prime Minister's Office

Born on 13 July 1954, Mr Lim Swee Say studied at the Catholic High School and the National Junior College. He was awarded a Singapore Armed Forces (UK) Scholarship in 1973 and studied Electronics, Computer and Systems Engineering at Loughborough University of Technology in the United Kingdom.

He graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 1976 and was admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology in 2006. He attended the Stanford Sloan Programme at Stanford University and graduated with a Master's Degree in Management in 1991.

Dr Balakrishnan: 'I am energised by crises'

In a new Straits Times interview series Supper Club, Elgin Toh talks to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan over fish head curry in his ward in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

Dr Balakrishnan, a former eye surgeon who entered politics 12 years ago in 2001, has been in the thick of things recently, having had to deal with two national crises - dengue and the haze - and a spat between his ministry and a Workers' Party-run town council in Aljunied GRC.
  • In Part 1, Dr Balakrishnan talks about the perfect storm of haze, dengue and hawker centre cleaning.
  • Part 2: "PAP not afraid of differences of opinion"
  • Part3 : "‘Everything is temporary, family is forever"
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