Singapore 2019 budget offers ‘something for everyone,’ expert says

Global financial hub Singapore unveiled its 2019 budget on Monday, and it’s offering “something for everyone,” according to an expert from global accounting firm Deloitte.

Speaking with CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday, Rohan Solapurkar, a Deloitte tax partner, said the raft of measures announced by the government was largely expected, and it catered to all of the interest groups the ruling People’s Action Party is trying to please.

“There is something for everyone, and I think that’s how the government wants to look at it, whether it is the younger generation or whether it is the older generation,” Solapurkar said.

Domestically, Singapore is concerned with an aging population. To award senior citizens born in the 1950s, Singapore’s so-called Merdeka Generation, the government is offering a collection of wellness and health subsidies. The program is expected to cost 8 billion Singapore dollars ($5.9 billion) in total, and the government is setting aside 6.1 billion Singapore dollars in the current budget to fund the subsidies.

Solapur said this year’s budget met expectations by not only offering benefits to the Merdeka Generation, but also announcing payouts to small and medium-sized enterprises and low-income families.

Notably absent from Singapore’s budget was any mention of a highly anticipated tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, Solapurkar said.

While that obesity-fighting measure may have been absent from the government’s plan, the 2019 budget did reveal increased duties on diesel as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate change.

Given talk that Singapore could call an election this year, many experts have suggested that the new budget should be viewed as a pre-election budget — filled with benefits to make the electorate feel good about the People’s Action Party, which has governed the city-state for decades.

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