SDP releases alternate budget 'for the future'

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) released its Shadow Budget Wednesday.

Among its key proposals include a new Non-Open Market (NOM) scheme to make public housing affordable again and a TalentTrack process to tighten foreign recruitment.

Other initiatives include:

  • creating a Fair Pay Commission to work with industry to implement a fairer wage system;
  • setting up a National Health Investment Fund to establish a more workable healthcare payment system;
  • setting up a Singapore Enterprise Agency to work with the Economic Development Board and Spring Singapore as a ‘Troika’ to rejuvenate the economy;
  • and establishing Invention, Youth Enterprise, and Developmental and Exploratory Funds to better channel resources towards home-grown talent in order to revitalise the SME sector
Presented at its party headquarters at Jalan Gelenggang by party treasurer Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, the 34-page document detailed plans by the party to respond to the regional economic and sociopolitical settlement.

He said its third annual shadow budget aims to enhance the management of Singapore’ wealth and recreate the social landscape to shape a new community through six five-year plans.

In the budget, SDP criticised the government’s budget for financial year 2013 as one that “continues to focus on supply side measures” while not beginning the process of economic transformation “even though (Singapore’s) economic model appeals to be approaching saturation”.

The budget also said using subsidies and handouts creates an unhealthy dependency mindset among the population and undermines a can-do spirit that must be regenerated.

The shadow budget also called for a rethink of state reserves, from a hedge against future challenges to a resource base to grow conditions that would mitigate economic challenges. It warned that over-saving and over-investment could lead to resources being underused, thus causing diminishing returns.

Proposals

Other proposals called for the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) investment portfolio to be autonomised and liberalised to achieve safe returns on national investment and prioritise promising local investments. The Central Provident Fund (CPF) would also be subjected to a similar investment framework, the budget entailed.

Another proposal was to introduce a graduated Goods and Services Tax (GST). This will range from a zero-tax on basic goods and services such as food and medical care, to a maximum of 10 per cent for luxury goods costing over $5,000 each.

Other measures include setting up a National Health Investment Fund to establish a more workable healthcare payment system by setting up a single-payer universal healthcare system.

Based on the government’s healthcare spend of $12 billion four years ago, SDP called for the government's share of healthcare expenditure to be increased to $10.5 billion annually, with Singaporeans contributing $500 on average to make up the remaining $2 billion.

The budget also campaigned for a policy of diplomacy over deterrence and a subsequent decrease in national defence spending. It also called for a reduction on ministerial salaries and the removal of the Emeritus Senior Minister position. Surpluses here could then be channeled to greater investments in healthcare, housing and wage parity for lower-income group.
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