Did Budget 2013 meet people’s expectations?

With all the reactions the 2013 budget is getting we thought it’d be interesting to compile netizens’ sentiments to see if expectations were met or if further adjustments will have to be made.

 Addressing the foreign worker issue

Netizen: “Many are still unhappy about 6.9 miI. I mean, there are people who argue against foreign workers but hire a maid.”

Labour movement: The budget needs to support an inclusive workforce model where foreign manpower complements the local workforce. The long-term goal should be to reduce the country’s over-reliance on foreign labour.

Budget 2013: Foreign Worker Levies for Work Permits and S Passes holders will increase for all sectors in

2014 and 2015, with cuts in foreign worker ratio in the service and marine sectors.

The measure is designed to slow the growth of foreign workers in selected industries while allowing companies to develop the skills of the Singaporean workforce.

Addressing low-wage workers’ struggles

Netizen: “I believe that a Minimum Wage Policy is good for Singaporeans and Singapore. There are many articles that support this view.”

Labour movement: The budget needs to increase financial help for low-wage workers, possibly as a one-off top-up to the Workfare Income Scheme (WIS).

Budget 2013: The government will co-fund 40% of wage increases for Singaporean workers, expand the income cap by $200 per month, increase pay-outs up to $3,500 and more in cash, and revise CPF contribution rates.

The measures are designed to give different types of assistance to low-wage workers while generalising the Progressive Wage model.

Addressing SMEs’ need for support

Netizen: “Ten out of ten SME bosses I spoke to said that the Government schemes are either too difficult to get or too much paperwork.”

Labour movement: The budget will have to reduce company tax for employing a Singaporean worker and help companies manage utilities costs.

Budget 2013: The Corporate Income tax will benefit from grants and the Road tax will benefit from targeted rebates. Collaborative industry projects will be implemented to develop scalable solutions and schemes will be put in place to make government support more comprehensive and accessible.

Key measures for SMEs are designed to acknowledge and support the potential of local entrepreneurs i in addressing other issues such as reliance on foreign labour and the need to create job opportunities in the long run.

Addressing the high costs of living

Netizen: “For the past 50 years, Singapore’s economy has grown tremendously, causing high cost of living. Every single price has gone up.”

Labour movement: The budget needs to set up quarterly Usave rebates instead of half yearly ones to compensate high inflation rates. Affordable housing and healthcare should also be made a priority.

Budget 2013: The government will develop additional Goods and Services Tax (GST) vouchers, personal income tax rebates, CPF Medisave top-ups, and reprieves on household service and conservancy charges.

The measures are designed to attenuate the impact of high costs of living and extending access to material well-being to every Singaporean.

Are there any other measures you feel address some of your expectations?

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Najib A.

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