Budget 2019

Cautious Budget spending necessary for long-term planning: Heng Swee Keat

SINGAPORE (Mar 4): Singapore may have accumulated huge surpluses during the current term of government, but that does not indicate an upcoming spending spree. The surpluses will also not be used to stall an impending Goods and Services Tax hike due to happen from 2021 to 2025.

On Feb 28, in rounding up parliamentary debate on the broad fiscal principles of this year’s Budget, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat explains that the planned increase in the Goods and Services Tax is necessary, and reiterated the government stance on saving for a rainy day.

What huge surpluses mean for Singapore's future

SINGAPORE (Mar 1): Singapore may have accumulated an estimated surplus of $15 billion during the current term of government, but this does not indicate an upcoming spending spree.

For one, the surpluses will not be used to stall an impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike due to happen from 2021 to 2025.

On Feb 28, in rounding up parliamentary debate on the broad fiscal principles of this year’s Budget, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat underscored the necessity of the planned GST hike, and reiterated the government stance on saving for a rainy day.

Pioneer, Merdeka... Next, a Majulah Generation package?

SINGAPORE (Feb 22): Hot on the heels of a $9 billion Pioneer Generation package announced in Budget 2014, the $8 billion Merdeka Generation package is setting up expectations of similar packages for every generation of ageing Singaporeans.

Notably, both are geared towards healthcare and broadly available to an entire generation of Singaporeans.

Generational packages heart-warming, but targeted aid still needed

SINGAPORE (Feb 25): The highlight of Budget 2019 is the much-anticipated $6.1 billion Merdeka Generation Package. It is targeted at about 500,000 Singaporeans born between 1950 and 1959 — mostly those who missed out on the country’s first generational package unveiled in Budget 2014. While the MGP has fewer initiatives than the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package, it is still substantial, and is particularly focused on measures that deal with medical bills, which are expected to become more costly in Singapore.

Winners and losers from Singapore's budget as election looms

SINGAPORE (Feb 19): Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat boosted health-care and military spending, gave tax rebates to citizens and tightened rules on foreign workers ahead of an election that could come as early as this year.

Heng announced a new $8 billion support package for seniors in his budget speech on Monday, as well as measures to help local businesses adopt new technologies. The expansionary fiscal plan will push the overall budget deficit to 0.7% of gross domestic product in the year ending March 2020, from a revised surplus of 0.4% this year.

$1.3 bil worth of initiatives launched to commemorate Singapore bicentennial

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): In commemoration of Singapore’s bicentennial this year, the Singapore government is introducing two special initiatives to "support the spirit of giving back” in the form of a $200 million Bicentennial Community Fund, as well as a $1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus.

The Bicentennial Community Fund will provide dollar-for-dollar matching for donations made to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) in FY19.

Government to set aside $6.1 billion for Merdeka Generation Fund

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Singapore will set aside $6.1 billion for a new Merdeka Generation Fund to provide benefits for close to 500,000 Singaporeans born in the 1950s.

With interested accumulated over time, this amount is expected to cover the full projected costs of over $8 billion, which will last over the lifetimes of these Singaporeans currently aged 60 to 69.

Greater healthcare assurance; additional $3.1 bil set aside for healthcare subsidies and support

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): As more Singaporeans enter their senior years, healthcare needs to grow, according to finance minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget 2019 speech.

Apart from already implementing changes to make healthcare more affordable, accessible and comprehensive, as well as providing greater social support to keep seniors active, another strategy is to provide greater healthcare assurance.

In an effort to enhance access to neighbourhood clinics that provide primary care to Singaporeans, Heng says that it will made more affordable to consult neighbourhood doctors.

Lower-wage, older workers to receive greater support amid tighter labour market

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Lower-wage and older Singaporean workers aged 55 and above will receive more support with the introduction of the Budget 2019 measures, announced Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Singapore Budget speech today.

For one, enhancements be made to the current Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme, which provides cash payouts and CPF top-ups for workers whose earnings are in the bottom 20 percentile.

Come January 2020, the qualifying income cap for WIS will be raised from $2,000 currently to $2,300 per month.

Singapore unveils more support for local firms to grow

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Budget 2019 speech on Monday announced measures to support start-ups and enable firms to grow, amid a push to build deep enterprise capabilities.

“Start-ups can only thrive if they scale up, and venture into new markets,” says Heng. “To help them do so, we will provide support in three areas: providing customised assistance, better financing options, and supporting technology adoption.”

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