All eyes on Feb 19 Budget to shed more light on tax hike

Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat arriving at the Parliament House to deliver the Budget speech on Feb 20, 2017.
Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat arriving at the Parliament House to deliver the Budget speech on Feb 20, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Budget this year, which will be delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Feb 19, is expected to draw much attention, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signalled last November an impending tax hike.

While there are no details yet on which tax may be raised and when it will happen, analysts have suggested that the goods and services tax (GST) is a top contender, and many are looking to the Budget statement to shed more light on the matter.

GST has remained at 7 per cent for the last decade, among the lowest in the region, and analysts expect that it will be raised to between 8 and 10 per cent, with the increases spread out over several years.

PM Lee, speaking at the People's Action Party annual convention last November, had said taxes are set to go up as social spending and investments on infrastructure and the future economy are costly.

After the Budget is delivered, Parliament will debate the Budget statement the following week.

This will be followed by the debate on the spending plans of various ministries, which will take two weeks in all.

The Ministry of Finance said in a statement yesterday that people can continue to send in their views and suggestions on the Budget through the Singapore Budget website (www.singaporebudget.gov.sg) and several platforms of government feedback unit Reach.

Reach will hold a live question and answer session on its Facebook page on Jan 4, as well as set up two pre-Budget Listening Points at Tanjong Pagar Plaza concourse area on Jan 9 and Singapore Management University, near Kou Fu Foodcourt, on Jan 12.

The feedback exercise will close on Jan 12.

The Budget statement will be covered live on television, radio and the Budget website. The Ministry of Finance will also provide updates on its social media accounts.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2018, with the headline 'All eyes on Feb 19 Budget to shed more light on tax hike'. Print Edition | Subscribe