Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:
Singapore’s economy would be more resilient if it were better balanced. Consumption composes only about 40% of GDP — far less than other developed Asian economies, nearer to 55%. Yesterday’s budget doesn’t do much to change long-term incentives to consume. The government announced a 20% income-tax rebate for one year, but no permanent cuts. Nor did it cut the 7% goods and services tax. Singaporean workers and businesses invest a total of 34.5% of wages into the state pension fund, but receive less than a 2% return from the government. That’s a measly payout compared to what private funds return over long investment periods.
Mr. Tharman said yesterday that “no one knows how prolonged or deep this recession is going to be” and he pledged further measures to help if needed. The best help for Singaporeans would be expanded, permanent opportunities to work, save and invest with more of their own money, rather than relying on government to do it for them.
Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal.