Did Minister Heng Swee Keat go into ‘denial mode’ by claiming a surplus in the 2019 budget when the figures posted a $3.48 billion deficit?

By February 21, 2019 February 24th, 2020 Government, Local Politics

On 19 February 2018, the States Times Review / Singapore Herald claimed (on a Youtube description) that there was misrepresentation by the Minister.

This is fake news.

Minister Heng had stated in his Budget Speech that in the term of the current government, there was an accumulated fiscal surplus – Accumulated over the term of the current government. There was no denial that for FY 2019, an overall budget deficit of S$3.5 billion was expected. Any comment made in CNA must be seen in this context.

We extract the relevant part of Minister’s speech as follows:-

“For FY2019, our budget position remains expansionary, with a basic deficit of $7.1 billion. Ministries’ total expenditures are expected to be $80.3 billion, 1.6% higher than in FY2018. We are setting aside funds to meet Singaporeans’ long-term needs, including $6.1 billion for the Merdeka Generation Package and $5.1 billion for long-term care support. On the whole, we expect an overall budget deficit of $3.5 billion, or 0.7% of GDP. (Refer to Annex F.)

We have sufficient fiscal surplus accumulated over this term of Government to fund the overall deficit in FY2019. There is no draw on past reserves.”


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