In his Budget speech in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 18), Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that there will be no GST hike next year.
He did add, however, that an increase in the GST will still be needed by 2025. Overall, netizens were concerned that the GST will be increased as soon as 2022 and disappointed with the proposed Assurance Package.
Mr Heng had said the Government would “assess carefully the appropriate time for the increase” and that Singaporeans would be given “sufficient lead time”. When the GST is increased, a S$6 billion Assurance Package will be introduced to cushion the hike. In 2007, when the GST was increased from 5 per cent to 7 per cent, the Government offered a S$4 billion offset package. This time, it has been raised to S$6 billion.
Mr Heng said that most Singaporean households will receive offsets to cover at least five years’ worth of additional expenses brought on by the higher GST. All adult Singaporeans will receive a cash payout of between S$700 and S$1,600 over the course of five years.
Netizens were none too happy about this news and took to Facebook to air their views.
The following person found the process to be pretty backward, citing that the point of GST increases is to raise revenue:
Someone did the calculation. The lowest possible cash payout all adult Singaporeans will receive is S$700 over five years. That’s only S$140 per year, as this netizen pointed out:
This netizen also questioned whether every Singaporean should receive cash payouts:
This user called the decision not to raise the GST a ploy to gain votes in the coming elections, after which GST will be increased anyway:
Netizens mentioned “word games” and “plot twists”:
While the majority of the reactions were negative, some citizens supported the GST decision. This netizen agreed with it:
And this citizen was grateful that “at least we have something” from the Budget: