Budget surplus: $23.1b?

Heart-breaking story

After I wrote the post on my facebook on 20 October, about the 81 year old lady who did not realise that her daughter had been dead in her HDB 2-room rental flat for 4 days – who had no money for the funeral – her son who is not living with her only earns about $1,000 and also has to look after his sickly wife (The New Paper, Oct 20)

– I chanced upon the article “IMF warning should keep Singapore on productivity push: Heng Chee How” (Straits Times,  Oct 20).

IMF report on Singapore

According to the IMF’s report on its article IV consultation with Singapore – Singapore’s “Central government budget (percent of GDP) – Overall balance (including investment income, capital revenue, and interest payment)” is  6.2, 4.7 and 4.2%, for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (projected), respectively.

(Note: “Sources: Data provided by the Singapore authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections”)

According to the Department of Statistics – GDP for 2013 was $372.8 billion.

$23.1b Budget surplus?

So, does this mean that the overall Budget balance was about $23.1 billion in 2013?

Similarly, does it mean that the projected figures for 2014 and 2015 are $18.0 and $16.6 billion, respectively?

More social spending?

So, why is it that despite all the rhetoric about spending more on social spending and helping the poor – we are still having such huge Budget surpluses?

Lowest Government spending?

Also, our Government expenditure as a percentage of GDP at 16.1, 17.4 and 17.8%, for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (projected), respectively – appears to continue to be amongst the lowest (if not the lowest) of all the developing and developed countries.

How many more heart-breaking stories?

At this rate – will there be more stories like the subject 81 year old?

Not spending on healthcare, CPF and HDB?

Singapore – a first world country – which from a cashflow perspective does not spend a single cent on healthcare, pensions or public housing – and continues to hoard huge Budget surpluses – $36.1 billion (subsequently revised to $25.3 billion) for FY2012 using IMF fiscal reporting guidelines according to the Department of Statistics!

Leong Sze Hian

P.S. Come with your family and friends to the 5th Return Our CPF protest on 25 October 4 pm at Speakers’ Corner https://www.facebook.com/events/446619505476438/

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the 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), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.