YOG budget balloons – S$104m to S$387m

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According to the Straits Times, “The budget for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) has surpassed original estimates of US$75 million ($104 million) by more than three times. The projected government spending for the 13-day Games in August will now be approximately $387 million.”

In the Budget for 2010, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, which is helmed by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, was allocated a total of S$1.97 billion. Its Budget statement says: “A sum of $160.64 million is allocated for the operating expenditure of the Youth Programme, which constitutes an increase of $84.45 million or 110.9% over the revised FY2009 expenditure. The increase is mainly due to the projected preparation and operating cost for YOG in August 2010.”

In contrast to the S$387 million for the YOG, a “sum of $92.39 million is allocated to the ComCare and Social Support Programme… [which]constitutes an increase of $2.64 million or 2.9% over the revised FY2009 expenditure. The increase is mainly attributed to a projected increase in the number of needy families affected by the economic downturn, who sought financial assistance.”

The budget for the Social Service Sector Planning Programme received S$83.02 million. The SSSPP caters to, among others, dysfunctional families and funding to voluntary welfare organizations.

In 2007, in announcing the increase in Goods and Services Tax from 5 per cent to 7 per cent, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that this was "to help the poor". He also said:

"Is it better to take your medicine sooner or stretch it out? Take medicine once or two times? I prefer to take my medicine early, why? This is something we need to do, once we have done it, we can move on..."

S$387 million for YOG.

S$92.39 million for the needy.

S$83.02 million for families and VWOs.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Click to enlarge. Cartoon by Joshua Chiang.