Budget 2012: More help for the needy, less foreign workers in the future

Budget 2012: More help for the needy, less foreign workers in the future 


http://www.asiaone.com/print/Business/News/My%2BMoney/Story/A1Story20120217-328643.html
 
Budget includes greater spending on healthcare and public transport as well as higher grants for poorer Singaporeans. -Reuters, AsiaOne

Fri, Feb 17, 2012
Reuters, AsiaOne

SINGAPORE - Singapore on Friday announced a budget that included greater spending on healthcare and public transport as well as higher grants for poorer Singaporeans, but employers will find it harder to employ foreigners.
RELATED STORIES » Special: Budget 2012
Following are some highlights of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam's budget speech:
BUDGET SURPLUS FOR THE YEAR ENDING MARCH 2012:
The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state also said it now expects an overall budget surplus of $2.3 billion for the current fiscal year ending March 31, much higher than an initial estimate of around S$100 million.
The overall surplus does not include proceeds from government land sales that were booked directly into reserves.
Read:
» Singapore expects overall FY12/13 budget surplus of S$1.3 billion
SURPLUS SEEN FOR THE YEAR ENDING MARCH 2013:
Singapore expects an overall budget surplus of $1.3 billion for the fiscal year ending March 2013. That figure would be equivalent to 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product.
Read:
» Singapore raises defence spending by 4.3%
REDUCING DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN WORKERS
Singapore will lower the ratio of foreigners companies can hire. Starting from July 1 this year, manufacturing companies will have to cap the percentage of foreigners they hire to 60 per cent of the workforce, down from 65 per cent currently.
For companies in the services sector, the dependency ratio ceiling will be lowered to 45 per cent from 50 per cent.

Read:
» Singapore to reduce quotas for foreign workers
» Singapore to further curb foreign worker inflow
» Foreign worker levy may be increased
Next >>
HIGHER PENSION CONTRIBUTION, TAX RELIEF FOR OLDER WORKERS
Employers will have to contribute more money to the Central Provident Fund savings of employees above the age of 50.
Starting September, the employer's CPF contribution for workers between 50 and 55 will rise to 14 per cent of monthly salary, up from 12 per cent.
Employer contributions for workers aged 55-60 and 60-65 will also go up.
Singapore will also double the income tax relief for older taxpayers so they can retain more of their income from work.
Read:
» Silver housing bonus of $20,000
» Govt to do more to help older Singaporeans live comfortably
» Increased CPF contribution rates for older workers
» Three groups of Singaporeans targeted in 2012 Budget
» One-off top-up for Medisave
ADDITIONAL TOBACCO TAX
The excise duties for beedies, "ang hoon" and smokeless tobacco will be increased by 20%.
Read:
» Tobacco tax to increase by 20%
<< Previous Next >>
EXEMPTING GOLD, PRECIOUS METALS FROM GST
Singapore will exempt investment-grade gold and other precious metals from goods and services tax (GST) to facilitate the development of gold trading. The change is aimed at meeting strong demand for investment-grade gold in Asia.
HEALTHCARE
Singapore will double yearly expenditure on healthcare to $8 billion from the current $4 billion over the next five years.
Read:
» More support for disabled S'poreans
» Lower-income patients to receive 75% subsidy in community hospitals
HELPING THE POOR
Singapore will set aside $3.6 billion to finance a scheme, which will help offset goods and services tax for mostly lower-income families, over five years.
Singapore will provide a $600 million top-up to the Medifund this year, which will increase the payouts from the fund by more than 20 per cent. Medifund is a programme to help needy Singaporean patients pay for their medical expenses.
Read:
» One-off top-up for Medisave
» More support for children from lower-income families
» Budget's mission to build an inclusive society and a stronger Singapore
» $3.6 billion to go to GST Voucher Fund
<< Previous Next >>

HELPING SMEs MAKE THE TRANSITION

The Government will introduce several measures to help local SMEs grow and attract employees, one of which is the Special Employment Credit (SEC).
Read:
» Several measures to benefit SMEs
» Tax schemes to be enhanced to help local companies: Tharman
» Enhanced Training Support for SMEs
» Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme to be enhanced
TRANSPORT SYSTEM ENHANCEMENT
Mr Tharman also announced several provisions to improve the transport system in Singapore, including boosting bus capacity, revisions to the vehicle tax regime, special diesel tax for Euro V vehicles, and the removal of additional transfer fee.

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