Singapore Notes, 24 Feb 2014
The local paper (now ranked 150th by Reporters Without Borders) made like the FY2014 budget is in deficit to the tune of $1.16b because of the $8b boondoggle for the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP). The last time Singapore ran a deficit was in 2009 at the height of the global financial meltdown, "this year the short fall is aimed at helping the needy and elderly". Let's get the facts straight.
Half of the money is expected to be expended over the next 10 years, after which the rest of the 450,000 eligible seniors (this number is also up for debate) who are still alive will be facing other challenges - higher Goods and Services Taxes (GST), train fares, utility charges, town council tariffs, etc. You were thinking perhaps $8b divided by 450,000?
Although the Finance Minister made the announcement in February, the goodies will trickle in at a snail's pace. Additional subsidies for specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs) and polyclinics kick in only in September. Subsidies for Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) at general practitioners (GPs) and dental clinics will be available only in January 2015. Subsidies for MediShield Life premiums won't be seen until late 2015, or later. Before you even know it, 2014 will be over, and a few of the qualifying seniors would have kicked the bucket, without benefiting a cent from the "move which honours generation who built nation". There are no subsidies for burial or cremation expenses. Full story