National servicemen to get $80 more in monthly allowance

Soldiers preparing for a drill during a military exercise last month. The last time NS allowances were raised was in 2012, when they went up by $60.
Soldiers preparing for a drill during a military exercise last month. The last time NS allowances were raised was in 2012, when they went up by $60.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

All national servicemen will take home an extra $80 a month from today, as the Government boosts their rank allowances.

Recruits entering full-time national service will get $560 - up from $480. Those who have attained the highest rank possible during their two years of NS, becoming lieutenants or inspectors, will pocket $1,260 a month - up from $1,180.

Besides the 40,000 full-time national servicemen (NSFs), the 300,000 operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) who are called up for annual in-camp training will also benefit.

The increases in the allowances apply to all national servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Those in combat vocations or who serve in front-line roles will continue to receive extra allowances that range from $100 to $300 for NSFs. For NSmen, the combat allowance range is $200 to $400.

This means that a combat-fit lance-corporal in an infantry battalion or transport command officer (SC2) will take home about $730 a month.

Announcing the revision in a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said: "NS rank allowance, which supports our national servicemen in their basic personal upkeep, is reviewed periodically."

The last time NS allowances were raised was in 2012, when they went up by $60.

The latest move is likely to cost the Government an extra $38.4 million a year in NSF allowances alone.

The move comes more than a year after a high-level committee rolled out plans to improve the NS experience, to boost support for the rite of passage which was introduced in 1967.

NSman Lim Weiyi, 35, said increasing NS allowances was appropriate. Given inflation, it will help defray rising costs.

"While it may be a small sum, it's a step in the right direction and I am sure many will appreciate it," said the education business owner.

Student Steven Teo, 18, who will be enlisted later this month, said: "Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. Nonetheless, it's great that we are being recognised for the effort and sacrifices we make to serve the country."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2015, with the headline 'National servicemen to get $80 more in monthly allowance'. Print Edition | Subscribe