SDP to PAP: Now is not the time for a GST hike

Now is not the time to raise the GST after the next elections, said the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to the ruling party, People’s Action Party (PAP) on Wednesday (12 February) given the ‘trying few weeks’ ahead of Singapore amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

On their website, SDP called on Singaporeans to “come together” to help contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus by following the public health warnings and advise by the relevant authorities.

SDP said, “We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of public health experts and recognise that this will be a trying few weeks ahead for all of us.”

“This is also an added reason why the SDP is calling on the PAP not to raise the GST after the next elections as announced,” it added.

SDP referred to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s statement that he will be laying out the GST support measures in his next budget statement scheduled for Tuesday, 18 February. The GST is expected to be raised from 7 percent to 9 percent.

The party noted that the country’s economy will “take a hit” as global trade and commerce is affected by the outbreak, which has already been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) early this month.

SDP highlighted, “The government says that it anticipates business and consumer confidence to be affected in the future as the situation is expected to last for some time.”

Therefore, the party asserts that it would be help Singaporeans if they did not need to pay more in GST and other taxes, which will “crimp spending”. SDP explained that individuals will need the extra cash in their pockets to get them through this uncertain economic period while businesses will also be helped if consumer confidence is boosted.

The planned GST hike will clearly not help neither consumers nor businesses, says the party.

“There was already little justification for the government to increase the GST before the coronavirus outbreak,” said SDP.

“Now with the adverse economic conditions ahead, it is all the more inconceivable for the PAP to proceed with its plans to increase the GST to 9 percent.”

Impact of Covid-19 outbreak the global economy

The outbreak has caused authorities in China to shut down massive swathes of the country, including placing several provinces under quarantines, leaving millions stuck. Though the quarantine was only implemented late in January, with millions believed to have already left the affected areas well before shut down was enforced.

In early February, Apple Inc, announced a temporary closure of all its stores and corporate offices in China. It is also considering shutting down its factories there which produces components for its range of products that are sold around the world. Apple Inc. employs about 10,000 people in China.

Additionally, Levi Stauss & Co.—which opened its biggest China store last October in Wuhan itself, the city at the centre of the outbreak—McDonald’s Corps, and Starbucks Inc., H&M, Nike, Tiffany & Co. and more have collectively shut down thousands of outlets around the country, partly in adherence to the government’s request for people to stay off the streets.

Even Disneyland Shangai has closed its doors until further notice due to the outbreak in an effort to help curb the spread of the virus.

The Edge Markets highlighted on 5 February the magnitude of the impact the outbreak has had on numerous business and corporations that have dealings with and in China.

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