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Different Strokes Before and After GST Hike Confirmation?

ELSON: Before the GST hike to 9 percent was confirmed, the government and state media appeared to be in “support the hike” mode (well, of course the government would support the hike, no surprises there).

Out comes reports by the Singapore Department of Statistics about the state of inflation in Singapore, one of which paints the picture that poor Singaporeans aren’t as badly affected as the rich living here.

To quote from the Straits Times report published on 24 Jan 2022,

“The lowest income groups saw the smallest increase in consumer prices in the second half of last year, compared to those from the middle and higher income groups, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics on Monday (Jan 24).

This comes as Singapore’s consumer price index (CPI) for all items between July and December last year rose by 3.1 per cent year on year, which is double the 1.5 per cent increase in the first half of last year.”

Next thing you know, on 1 Feb, the GST hike was announced – a raise of one percentage point each time on Jan 1, 2023 and Jan 1, 2024. What a sweet story – inflation is manageable for most Singaporeans except those evil rich tai tais, there are government support packages for the poor, and it’s okay to raise GST!

And now, after all the hype and tales are over… to quote a Today news report on 1 Aug 2022:

“DBS said that 40 per cent of its customers saw their income grow less than 5 per cent in the past year, which is slightly below the country’s average consumer price index inflation of 5.2 per cent in the first half of the year.

Customers within the lowest-income group, who earn below S$2,500, had just a 2.5 per cent increase in income between May last year and this year.

This group also saw their expenses grow 13.8 per cent, which is 5.6 times faster than their income growth at 2.5 per cent.”

Thank goodness the government was quick to declare and finalise the formal increase in GST before all this, and that’s why we should all show our support for Liang Po Po when the next PM selection comes about. Besides, he’s the only one who can flash the middle finger in parliament and get away with it!

But you have to wonder – didn’t the top finance minds working in the government ministries already expect this coming?

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