Friday, 23 February 2018

#SG Budget 2018

Hongbaos and taxes: 8 things you need to know about Budget 2018

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat ended his 2018 Budget speech on a "prosperous" note with the handing out of a one-off SG Bonus to Singaporeans, but he also warned of coming tax hikes that are needed to finance the country’s greater spending in the next decade.

How will Singaporeans and Singapore businesses be affected by the measures Mr Heng announced on Monday (Feb 19)?

Here is Channel NewsAsia’s quick guide to the major Budget announcements:
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Budget 2018: Together, A Better Future

Budget 2018 is a strategic and integrated plan to position Singapore for the future. It supports our transformation into a vibrant and innovative economy, and a smart, green and liveable city. It also fosters a caring and cohesive society while ensuring a fiscally sustainable and secure future for Singapore.

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FY2018 Budget Statement

A1. Mr Speaker Sir, I beg to move, that Parliament approves the financial policy of the
Government for the Financial Year from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

Economic Performance in 2017

A2. Riding on the global upturn, Singapore’s economy picked up last year.
  • a. Our GDP grew by 3.6%, up from 2.4% in 2016. This exceeded the Government’s forecast of 1% to 3% at the start of 2017.
  • b. Our productivity growth was 4.5% as measured by real value-added per actual hour worked, and 3.8% as measured by real value-added per worker. These are the highest figures since 2010.
A3. The good productivity growth has enabled firms to pay higher wages while staying
  • a. Real median income for Singapore citizens rose by 5.3% last year.
A4. For 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) expects growth to be more broadbased across sectors, but moderated from the high of 2017.

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Labour movement confirms it conducted poll last year to gather feedback on Budget issues, including taxes
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents in the survey said they did not think GST should be raised, and of these, 44 people said the Government should tax the rich in order to balance revenue & expenditure. FOTO: ST FILE

The labour movement has confirmed that it conducted a poll towards the end of last year to gather feedback from union leaders on issues such as training and taxes, ahead of the annual Budget.

Along with input gathered through focus group discussions & dialogue sessions, the feedback was used to inform the National Trades Union Congress workplan for this year & its labour MPs' positions. But the results of the poll were not presented to the Government.

The NTUC's Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute said this on Wednesday (March 14) in response to queries from The Straits Times, after a selection of tax-related questions from the poll were posted on sociopolitical website The Online Citizen on Sunday (March 11).

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Policies, politics and paranoia: Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah goes On the Record

He is referring to WP chairman Sylvia Lim being asked to apologise to the House earlier this year for alleging that the Government had floated “test balloons” before announcing an impending Goods & Services Tax hike. I put it to him that most ruling parties would consider it a natural instinct to defend their policies & make a point of it if they feel the other parties are trying to cast aspersions on their intentions.

“But still, there has to be some degree of balance because otherwise it’s going to backfire. The whole Sylvia Lim example, I think it won Sylvia a lot of sympathy points - the fact that people are trying to make her apologise for asking an honest question. You can say that the question is a stupid question, you can try to criticise her for that, but trying to make her apologise for asking a question seems to be a little bit like shooting yourself in the foot because it makes you come across like a bully.

“In a parliamentary democracy, if somebody asks you a question, you can make them look small or really silly, but to treat every question as an attack on your own personal integrity, to me, that's bordering a little bit on paranoia.”

Full Coverage:
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#SG Budget 2018
Shanmugam and Sylvia: the Clash of the Nemesis
The 'GST Float Balloon' Saga
Budget 2018: A big sorry non-debate
MPs absenteeism in Parliament sessions
WP's arguments "pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead"
Law to combat fake news to be introduced next year
"You're not going to get angels in power all the time"
Decision On Spore’s 1st Elected President Was Decided By Gov, Not AGC
No excuse for “bitter” Dr Tan CB to engage in “elaborate charades”
K Shanmugam says will continue engaging with online community
'Pervasive' lapses in WP town council
Town Councils Graded On Corporate Governance
From Gan Ng Phua to Shan
Sylvia Lim: "Is NEA Playing Politics?"
From Desmond Lawrence Sylvia to AHPETC