Fiscal policies: S’pore vs Hong Kong?

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Is Singapore worse off than Hong Kong?

I refer to the Professor Paul Yip’s article “Hong Kong’s fiscal policy is not miserly, but it does lack vision” (South China Morning Post, Aug 12).

It states that “Hong Kong has enjoyed more than a decade of budget surpluses.”

Similarly, Singapore has also enjoyed more than a decade of budget surpluses (“Budget Cash Surplus 2005-14: $190b – MPs call for fiscal prudence?“, Feb 28).

“Fiscal reserves are running at a high of nearly US$1 trillion.”

Similarly, Singapore’s reserves is estimated to be nearly S$1 trillion.

“That would be the envy of many. Should we be proud of this? Unfortunately not, as the amount of fiscal reserves has not converted into something that benefits most people.”

Similarly, arguably, Singapore has the same issue (“The “mirage” of poverty in S’pore?“, Dec 14, 2015).

“GDP growth has been around 3-5 per cent but median wage levels have not improved at the same rate. As a result, wealth inequality is widening in Hong Kong.”

Similarly, arguably, Singapore has the same issues (“Low wage share is OK? Pay can only rise with growth?”, Jun 1, 2013).

“Public expenditure as a share of our gross domestic product has grown substantially, from 16 per cent during colonial times to 20 per cent since 1997.”

In contrast, Singapore’s Public expenditure as a share of our gross domestic product has been estimated to be only about 14 per cent in 2014, according to the Economist magazine (“Lowest Govt spending in the world?“, Sep 30, 2014).

“The proportion of social welfare expenditure to total public expenditure has increased from 9 per cent to 15 per cent, or HK$21.7 billion in 1997/98 to HK$80.5 billion in 2017/2018.”

In contrast, Singapore’s proportion of social welfare expenditure to total public expenditure has been estimated to be one of the lowest in the world (“ComCare spending is less than 0.1% of GDP?“, Dec 18, 2016).

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.