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Singapore Budget 2019: GST Vouchers, More CHAS Subsidies, Income Tax rebates

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“If there is something more exciting than the live telecast of the World Cup, it will be Budget 2019 simply because it affects our wallet directly whether you placed a bet or not.” – Overheard at a Coffeeshop

TL;DR: The Budget 2019. How it affects YOU?

This year, the government expects an overall budget deficit of $3.5billion. There will, however, be no drawing on past reserves.

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The YES:

  • More CHAS subsidies and covers chronic conditions
  • 1.4 million lower-income Singaporeans to receive up to $300 GST Vouchers
  • $150 top-up to Edusave accounts, $500 top-up to Post-Secondary Education Accounts (Age 17-20)
  • 50% Personal Income tax rebates (capped at $200)
  • CPF top-ups of $1,000 for eligible Singaporeans (age 50-64)
  • An annual special tax on Diesel Cars and Taxis reduced by $100 and $850 respectively

The NOs:

  • Increase excise duty for diesel from $0.10 per litre to $0.20 per litre
  • Reduced GST Import Relief from $600 to $500 (more than 48 hours overseas) and $150 to $100 (less than 48 hours)

Further Reading: Summary of Budget 2019

  • Challenges Singapore face
  • Singapore Economic Growth in the year 2018
  • How Budget 2019 affects companies
  • How Budget 2019 affects Singaporeans?

This year marks 200 Years since Raffles Landed in Singapore. This year, we reflect on history and see how we can chart a better future for Singaporeans.

In the global landscape, there is a decrease in support for globalisation. ASEAN however, is creating new opportunities for Singapore and the future is filled with potential.


The objective of SGBudget2019 will be to build a strong united Singapore.

Challenges Singapore face

Some of the issues Singapore faces are:

  • Ageing Population
  • Social Mobility
  • Inequality
  • Economic transformation
  • Climate change

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30% of Government expenditure: Support defence, security and diplomacy efforts

“This one cannot play play!”

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  • In order for Singapore to be a safe and secure home for all, deterrence and diplomacy are important to us as a nation.
  • Singapore will find solutions to terrorism and cyber threats with the help of science and technology.
  • Setting up of Home Team Science and Technology Agency to help deal with cyber threats.

Singapore Economy as a whole: 3.2% Growth in the year 2018 (HUAT AH!)

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  • Real median income of Singaporeans up by 3.6% over the past 5 years.
  • Moderate global growth to be expected.

Strengthening Economic Competitiveness

“3 key trusts for Budget 2019 – Deep enterprise capabilities, deep worker capabilities, deep partnerships”

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$100million to make Singapore companies more HUAT?

  • Support in 3 areas to enable firms to grow: Customised assistance, better financing options and technological adoption.
  • Innovation Agents Scheme: Allow firms to tap on the expertise of experienced professionals
  • $100 million will be set aside to establish the SME Co-investment Fund III, to help SMEs scale up.
  • SME Working Capital Loan Scheme is extended to 2 more years.
  • SMEs encouraged to go digital at a better cost, with Go Digital programme expanded to more sectors.

Deepen capabilities of workers!

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” Power to the People!”

  • Allow Singaporeans to have good jobs and opportunities by investing in people across all ages.
  • Upskilling, reskilling, increase training and job redesigning to allow Singaporeans to work better.
  • New growth area to focus: Blockchain, embedded software, prefabrication (Blockchain doesn’t mean Bitcoin hoh!)
  • Career Support Programme to extend 2 more years and local firms to revamp work processes, redesign jobs and reskill our workers.
  • Foreign worker growth must complement our local workers, while local workers grow!

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Sector Current Changes
DRC
Manufacturing 60% No change
Services 40% 1 Jan 2020: 38%
1 Jan 2021: 35%
Construction 87.5% No Change
Process 87.5% No Change
Marine Shipyard 77.8% No Change
S Pass sub-DRC
Services 15% 1 Jan 2020: 13%
1 Jan 2021: 10%
Others 20% No change

  • Good News for business owners of Marine Shipyard and Process Sectors: Increased Foreign Worker Levy pushed back for another year.

Deep partnerships

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  • On business to business and government to government level.
  • Singapore to aim to be a Global-Asia Node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise (NTU will launch Centre of Innovation in Energy, Temasek Polytechnic will launch Centre of Innovation in Aquaculture.)
  • Global Ready Talent Programme for students to be better ready through internships
  • $4.6billion for new economic capability-building measures to support Singaporean workers over the next 3 years.
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Social Focus of SGBudget2019

  • Uplifting Singaporeans
  • Providing Greater Healthcare Assurance
  • Foster Community of care and contribution

Uplifting Singaporeans:

  • Bottom 20% of workers: WIS Scheme will provide better support
    Maximum Annual Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Payout from 1 Jan 2020
    AGE Employees
    (Maximum annual WIS payout)
    Self-employed
    (Maximum annual WIS Payout)
    35-44 $1,700 $1,113
    45-54 $2,500 $1,667
    55-59 $3,300 $2,200
    60 and above $4,000 $2,667

CHAS subsidies for GP clinics changes

  • More subsidies for lower to middle-income Singaporeans (Orange cardholders) receives subsidies for common illnesses too!
  • CHAS will cover chronic conditions too! Regardless of income
  • Increased subsidies for complex chronic conditions

$5.1billion into Long-Term Care Support Fund

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  • Fund CareShiueld Life subsidies
  • Fund Long-term care support. Eg. Elderfund

$6.1billion into Merdeka Generation Package

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“500,000 Singaporeans to benefit from this!”

  • $100 top-up to Passion Silver Cards where they can use for activities at Community centres
  • Medisave Top-up: $200 per year for 5 years!
  • Additional MediShield Life Premium subsidies for Life (Starting from 5% of their MediShield Life Premium)
  • $1,500 incentive when they joinCareShield Life
  • Increase subsidies for outpatient

Medisave top-ups of $100 for the next 5 years (If you are above 50)

  • Singaporeans aged 50 and above in 2019, not eligible for Merdeka Generation or Pioneer Generation benefits
  • To be eligible, one must be Singapore citizen, born in or before 1969

Lower-income families and pensioners benefits

  • Allowance and monthly pension to increase for government pensioners who draw lower pensions.
  • Increase by $20 per month each to $320 and $1,250 respectively

Bicentennial Bonus and Community Fund

“GST VOUCHERS! WOOHOO!”

  • $200million set aside for Bicentennial Community fund to provide dollar for dollar matching donations to IPCs
  • $1.1billion set aside as bonuses to Singaporeans
  • 1.4 million lower-income Singaporeans to receive up to $300 GST Vouchers
  • $150 top-up to Edusave accounts
  • $500 top up to Post-Secondary Education Accounts (Age 17-20)
  • 50% Personal Income tax rebates (capped at $200)
  • CPF top-ups of $1,000 for eligible Singaporeans (age 50-64)
  • Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebate:
    HDB Flat type April 2019 July 2019 October 2019 January 2020 Total for FY2019
    1 and 2 rooms 1 1 1 0.5 3.5
    3 and 4 rooms 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 2.5
    5 rooms 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 2
    Executive and Multi-generation 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.5


  • $10 million top-ups to Public Transport Fund

Singapore Battling Climate Changes

  • Carbon tax to be implemented
  • Zero waste Masterplan introduced in the second half of the year
  • The Govt will raise the excise duty for diesel by $0.10 per litre, to $0.20 per litre.
  • Special tax on diesel cars and taxis to reduced by $100 and $850 respectively

Here comes the TAX!

Travellers take note:

  • Time spent overseas Value of Goods Granted GST Relief
    More than 48 hours $500
    (Down from $600)
    Less than 48 hours $100
    (Down from $150)

  • Duty-free alcohol allowance to be reduced to 2 litres for travellers returning to Singapore.

Quick Recap: How did the Singapore Budget last year impact us?

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Read more: Singapore Budget 2018: Increase in GST by 2% in the period from the year 2021 to 2025

 

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