On 18 February, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered Singapore’s Budget 2019 statement in Parliament. Described by financial experts as expansionary, this year’s plan features a slew of fiscal subsidies and incentives aimed to “build a strong, united Singapore”. Here are some highlights:
Merdeka Generation Package
The Merdeka Generation Package (MGP) sets aside $8 billion for senior Singaporeans born in the 1950s. The package includes extensive healthcare subsidies ranging from short-term to chronic illnesses including dental care. These benefits will be available to all Singaporeans in the age group regardless of income. Other incentives of the MGP are focused on helping the Merdeka Generation ease into its silver years, and include top-ups to Medisave Life schemes and Passion Silver Cards.
To commemorate 200 years since the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles to Singapore shores, $1.1 billion has been set aside as part of the Bicentennial Bonus for Singaporeans. This bonus includes GST vouchers of up to $300 for low income Singaporeans, and tax rebates for all resident taxpayers. Top-ups ranging from $150-$500 will also be channeled to the education accounts of local students, while low income elderly will receive top ups in their CPF accounts as well. The Bicentennial Bonus is expected to benefit up to 300 thousand Singaporeans.
Getting down to Business
In the realm of business, $1 billion has been earmarked to start initiatives and improve current programmes that help local companies improve their “deep” capabilities. One such program — the SMEs Go Digital programme that was launched in 2017 — will be financially bolstered to help more companies keep up to date with digital technology and training programmes.
All Singaporeans above the age of 21-years-old will receive a one-off monetary bonus of up to $300. In light of the recent festivities, Minister Heng described this bonus as a “hongbao”. Huat ah!
Check out this video by Channel NewsAsia to find out more about Budget 2019! Curious to know what incentives you are eligible to receive this Budget 2019? Click here to try out a calculator built by PWC Global Mobility Services and The Straits Times.