What’s the Deal with Budget?

We know that many of you look forward to how much GST cash voucher payouts you’re getting for the year come Budget time, but the Budget is so much more than that.

Every financial year, Singapore’s finance minister announces our nation’s revenue from the previous year and the amount that it expects to spend in the current and next financial year.

The minister will also talk about the social and economic areas where the Government will be spending money on.

This money comes from more than 10 different taxes and charges, which include corporate income tax, GST, personal income tax and even motor vehicle tax.

How the Nation Spends Money

The amount of money needed usually depends on the needs of the country at the time, and how much it costs to achieve them.

The first Singapore Budget speech by then Finance Minister Lim Kim San in 1965 touched on the co-operation between Malaysia and young Singapore.

Job creation and economic development were also the key focuses for the young state, and Singapore’s first operating expenditure from its budget mostly went to building the first-world infrastructure it has today.

Fast forward some five decades later, issues such as skills upgrading for the workforce and healthcare for the elderly shifted to the forefront to become some of the key focuses of the Government today.

Some socio-economic examples over the years include investing in the welfare of low-income workers and families to help them gain better lives and skills, such as through the 2006 Progress Package and the 2015 SkillsFuture initiative, and looking after the elderly through efforts such as the 2014 Pioneer Generation Package.

During times of economic crises, the Government would also use the Budget to uplift the country and its people, such as the 2008/2009 Global Financial Crisis where the Government allocated some $20.5 billion for the Resilience Package to help the nation tide things over.

So, what’s in store for Singaporeans this time around? As speculated by many, there may be tax increases. How much will these be? Will there be something to cushion the blow? Will there be something to make professionals, managers, executives more employable? What about the sandwiched class? And of course, what kind of rebates or reliefs will you be getting this year?

Perhaps you should tune in to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Budget announcement later today (19 Feb) at 3.30pm to find out.

In case you miss the speech, do catch our special Budget report later today on what you as workers should know about the announcements this year.

Fun Fact from the Finance Ministry: Did you know that the Singapore Constitution requires the country to keep a balanced budget for each term of Government?

Unlike many other countries, the nation also does not borrow to pay off Government expenditure and does not have any external debt.

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