Temasek’s NIRC less than Budget surplus?


Are Temasek’s annual Net Investment Return Contributions (NIRC) less than the annual Budget surpluses?

I refer to the 2 full-page colour advertisements by Temasek in the Sunday Times of 29 July.

One of the charts indicate that the Net Investment Return Contribution (NIRC) from MAS, GIC and Temasek was about $15.9, $14.1 and $14.4 billion in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Since there is no breakdown – let us assume that Temasek’s contribution is about one-third – i.e. $5.3, $4.7 and $4.8 billion for the three years.

The overall Budget surplus  was $9.6, $6.12 and -$4.88 billion (deficit), for the three years, respectively.

Was the -%4.88 billion deficit in 2016 due in some way to the one-time transfer of $8 billion to the pioneer generation package, of which I understand that only about $250 million was budgeted for spending in the first year of the implementation of the pioneer generation package?

(Note: I had some difficulty finding the estimated and revised overall Budget surpluses in history – so, I have provided the links where I obtained the figures above)

So, does it mean that from a cashflow perspective – arguably, Temasek in a sense, never returned any money to help Singaporeans – if their annual contributions to the NIRC were less than the overall Budget surpluses?

Also, to what extent is the enormous growth of Temasek’s portfolio to $308 billion now due to its accumulation of its returns, instead of returning more to Singaporeans?

Moreover, “The constitutional amendment to include GIC and MAS in the NIR framework was passed by Parliament in 2008”, whereas “The constitutional amendment to include Temasek in the NIR framework was (only) passed by Parliament in 2015″.

At the Singapore Perspectives conference in January 2018 – the Finance Minister showed charts which stated “Major revenue – FY2016 Revised: $83 Billion” “Social spending now forms largest share – FY2016 Revised $71 Billion”.

So, does it mean that the Budget surplus for FY2016 Revised was $12 billion ($83 – $71 billion)?

Is this the largest Budget surplus (before one-time transfers to trust and endowment funds?) ever in the history of Singapore?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

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.