Why the need for self-help group to increase contributions?

By SY Lee and Leong Sze Hian

We refer to the article “Self-help groups ask better-off to chip in more” (Sunday Times,  Aug 31).

The article states that Sinda’s operating expenditure was S$18.23 million, with more than half spent on education programmes. But its total income, including government grants, was S$17.63 million.

But does it mean that its operating deficit for last year was only about S$600,000 (S$18.23 million minus S$17.63 million)?

According to Sinda’s annual report 2013 – it had accumulated funds of S$26.2 million.

So, does it mean that it may have enough to cover its current annual deficit for more than 42 years (S$26.2 million divided by S$600,000)?

If this is the case, then why is there such an urgent need to increase the contributions now?

According to CDAC’s 2013 annual report – it had total reserves of S$6.2 million and a net deficit of S$1.4 million.

So, does it mean that it has enough reserves to cover the current annual deficit for more than 4 years ($6.2 million divided by S$1.4 million)?

The Eurasian Association had total reserves of S$2.3 million and annual surplus of S$196,000.

And since there is an annual surplus, why are contributions being increased?

The Budget surplus was $36.1 billion in FY2012 using IMF fiscal reporting guidelines. Why can’t the Government just increase the grants to cover the total annual deficits which are only over $2 million?

When was the last time that the Government increased its formula for grants to these self-help groups?

Increase of 13% to 329%?

The increase for the CDAC contributions is 50% for those earning S$3,501, and as much as 200% for the higher income.

For Sinda, the increase is 29% for those earning S$4,501 and as much as 329% for the higher income.

For the Eurasian Association, the increase is 13% for those earning S$2,501 and up to 100% for the higher income.

For Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians earning less than S$1,000,  their monthly contribution is S$1,  S$0.50, S$1 and S$2, respectively.