The Workers’ Party’s question in parliament about raising full-time national servicemen’s allowance has met strong resistance from the Defence Ministry.
WP MP Gerald Giam asked in Parliament this month if there had been consideration to raise the allowance of NSFs given the spike in cost of living.
In response, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How said:
“The full-time National Servicemen or NSFs receive an allowance to support their basic personal upkeep. The allowance takes into account that lodging, food, clothing and medical care are provided, given that most NSFs actually stay in camp. Mindef regularly reviews and adjusts the allowance. Three adjustments have been made over the last 10 years, with the most recent being in March 2020. Mindef will continue to conduct such regular reviews (on the) allowances.”
Giam pressed on, saying that the last review of NSF allowances took place in March 2020, but cost of basic upkeep has “increased significantly” because of high inflation that set in around the middle of 2021.
However, Heng said that while allowances are calibrated with “overall price levels” taken into account, it is not the “general cost of living” that applies.
This, he said, is due to the impact of the overall cost of living on lodging, food, clothing and medical care, which is paid for by the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team.
Most full-time NSFs from the SAF to stay in-camp throughout their national service stint, and are allowed to leave camp during the weekend.
The last review of national service allowance took place in 2020, with Heng announcing an increase of between S$70 to S$120 in their monthly allowance.
An NSF holding the rank of Recruit/Trainee received an extra S$70 to bring his allowance to S$630 a month, while a 2nd Lieutenant/Probationary Inspector would receive S$1150 – up from the previous S$1080.
NSFs in selected combat or operational vocations received more depending on their vocation.