The first Parliamentary debate regarding Budget 2022 commenced yesterday (28 Feb). Among the topics discussed was the planned GST hike, which will start in Jan 2023.
Kicking off the debate, the Workers’ Party (WP) announced their disagreement with the hike, before proposing alternative measures for revenue generation.
Chief of WP Mr Pritam Singh said that although anticipated, the GST hike comes at a “difficult time” for Singaporeans. This is due to numerous reasons such as inflation and supply chain disruptions.
Speaking to Parliament in his opening speech, Mr Singh said his party agrees with the direction of Budget 2022.
However, the anticipated GST hike comes at a difficult time for Singaporeans.
Inflation is on the upswing and prices are high. Supply chain disruptions are having an outsized impact on people’s purses.
Mr Singh also stressed the need to assist the healthcare and welfare system, as well as senior citizens. In the current climate, he believes that these 3 sectors should receive more aid from the Government.
Taking all these into account, there are real concerns that a GST hike might lead to further increases in prices across the board.
Mr Singh further said that a GST hike is not necessary for revenue generation and that there are other alternatives that can be explored.
Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai also said that the PSP will not support the GST hike in Budget 2022.
Instead of a GST hike, Mr Singh suggested other alternatives that can be pursued. These include adjustments to the reserves framework and increases in progressive tax policies.
For the reserves framework, he proposed devoting a portion of land sales into recurrent revenue and increasing recurrent spending.
This is a measure that has been brought up to Parliament by WP before.
WP also recommends the use of more effective wealth taxes. In his speech, Mr Singh mentioned that differentiation between wealth taxes is necessary.
This is especially due to the limited impact of some of the “attacks on wealth” put forth in the Budget 2022.
The debates in Parliament regarding the initiatives in the Budget 2022 will continue for the next 2 weeks until 10 Mar.
During these sessions, members of Parliament will continue to propose alternative measures.
While Budget 2022 shows promise in tackling issues like the rising cost of living, perhaps it will still be worth it to consider alternatives that could help the population at large better.
What do you think about the current measures? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Featured image adapted from MCI Singapore on YouTube.
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