Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary General, Chee Soon Juan, wrote a statement on the increasing prices for water announced by the Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat yesterday (20 February).
Mr Chee stated that the Minister did not provide figures to back his claim that the costs of supplying water to Singaporeans have increased.
He said that Mr Heng also conveniently forgets that the PUB has all along been collecting three layers of tax on water usage, which are Waterborne Fee (WBF), Water Conservation Tax (WCT), and GST on the WBF and WCT which is effectively a tax on taxes.
"How is this justifiable?" Mr Chee asked.
Here is the statement in full:
It is shocking that the Government will increase prices for water by 30 percent. This comes at a time when Singaporeans are facing great uncertainty as the economy takes a turn for the worse.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat justified the hike by pointing out that water prices have not increased in 17 years. He did not provide figures to back his claim that the costs of supplying water to Singaporeans have increased.
He also conveniently forgets that the PUB has all along been levying three layers of tax on water usage.
The first layer is the Waterborne Fee (WBF) which is a “variable component levied based on the volume of water used.”
On top of this, there is a 30-percent levy under the Water Conservation Tax (WCT).
The third layer is the 7 percent GST on the WBF and WCT which is effectively a tax on taxes. How is this justifiable? Why are Singaporeans paying three layers of tax for their use of water?
In addition, the WCT on Newater for business users will increase by 10 percent. Given the current economic contraction that Singapore is experiencing, the PAP is hurting businesses even more by increasing water prices at this time.
Citing the fact that water prices have not increased in 17 years is an excuse, not a valid reason, for the price hike. The PAP is clearly taking advantage of Singaporeans by collecting more tax revenue at a time when the people can least afford it.