SG Bonus: Give ‘peanuts’, take ‘a pound of flesh’?


The ‘SG Bonus’ is like giving you ‘peanuts’ and taking back ‘a pound of flesh’?

I refer to the article “$700m SG Bonus to be paid out to 2.8m S’poreans by December” (Straits Times, Sep 29).

It states that “Adult Singaporeans who are eligible for a one-off SG Bonus of up to $300 will be informed of their payout amount in a letter from Tuesday.

The Government will disburse $700 million to the 2.8 million eligible Singaporeans by December, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement yesterday.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in this year’s Budget speech that the bonus comes with an expected overall Budget surplus of $9.6 billion, or 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product, for the 2017 financial year.

The surplus was markedly higher than the $1.9 billion forecast a year ago, mainly because of exceptional statutory board contributions of $4.6 billion.

The SG Bonus will be given on top of the Goods and Services Tax Voucher scheme, and service and conservancy charges rebate for eligible Singaporeans.

This reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to share the fruits of the country’s development with Singaporeans, said MOF.

Those who are 21 years old and above on Dec 31 will receive up to $300, depending on their income.

Those with an assessable income of $28,000 and below last year will get $300; $200 goes to people earning $28,001 to $100,000; and $100 for those earning more than $100,000 or who own more than one property.

Most Singaporeans will automatically get their SG Bonus if they have previously signed up for other payout schemes, such as the growth dividends and GST Voucher.

Singaporeans who have not signed up will be informed of how to do so in their letters.

They will have until March 31 next year to sign up online, or through a hard-copy form available at community clubs and Central Provident Fund Board service centres.

MOF said it has received some feedback from Singaporeans who want to donate their SG Bonus to needy citizens. They will now be able to do so via the SG Bonus website or the SG Cares mobile application.”

On top of ‘the expected overall Budget surplus of $9.6 billion, or 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product, for the 2017 financial year’ – we make so much money from Singaporeans, from CPF, HDB, etc, that this $700 million may be like ‘peanuts’, whilst they take ‘a pound of flesh’ back from us.

For example, our CPF balances is $376.6 billion as of June 2018. If the difference between the weighted average interest annually on all CPF accounts and the annualised returns from inception of GIC is say 2% – the ‘pound of flesh’ that is being taken from us, may be about $7.53 billion ($376.6 x 2%) a year.

In this connection, the Government should disclose the statistics on the weighted average annual interest on all CPF accounts vis-a-vis the annualised returns in S$ of GIC, historically, in the public interest, and in line with the online falsehoods’ committee’s recommendation that the Government should give the reasons for decisions not to disclose information to the public, and to gain the public’s trust.

Leong Sze Hian


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.