By Leong Sze Hian
I refer to the Department of Statistics’ Monthly Digest of Statistics.
$189.8b cash (Budget) surplus from 2005 – 2014?
Under “Public Finance – Government Revenue and Expenditure – Government Finance Annual – the Cash (Budget) Surplus was $22.4 billion for 2014, and $189.8 billion for the ten years from 2005 to 2014.
(Note: “Data in the table represent a broader definition of Government revenues and receipts than what are permissible for Government spending as presented in each year’s Budget Statement. This is because some revenues and receipts accrue to the Government’s past reserves, which cannot be drawn on without the approval of the President. The data follow the latest IMF Government Financial Statistics Manual (GFSM), i.e., GFSM 2001.”)
$3.45b Budget surplus FY2016
In contrast to the generally much higher Cash (Budget) Surpluses above – the estimated Budget surplus for FY2016 is $3.45 billion.
Differences between the Cash Surplus and the Budget Statement Surplus?
For example, I understand that under the IMF’s Government Financial Statistics – the $3.6 billion “Top-ups to Endowment and Trust Funds” would not be charged as an expenditure in the Budget, and the $10.1 billion “Sales of Land” would have been included as revenue.
Most healthy fiscal position in the world?
So, is our fiscal position the most healthy in the world on a per capita basis, for the last decade or so?
What do you think?
Be prudent, watch Budget spending?
In this connection, the article “Budget prudent, but watch spending, say MPs” (Straits Times, Apr 5) wrote:
“The Budget is back in the black this year after a deficit in the last fiscal year, but Members of Parliament yesterday repeated their calls for cautious spending, warning that expenditure is likely to rise in the future.
These calls came from at least 10 out of the 26 MPs who spoke in yesterday’s debate on the Budget delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat last month.
While they lauded the Budget for being prudent and forward- looking, they also expressed concerns that the healthy balance sheet, which projects a surplus of $3.45 billion, could inflate expectations among Singaporeans for more spending in the future.
Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) warned that they would add to the fiscal burden of the country and to the strain on future generations, as he called for “creative ways to fund government spending and schemes”.
Therefore, several MPs said, the traits of thrift and prudence that have underlined fiscal policy since independence are just as relevant now.”