The Singapore Budget is prepared for each financial year, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the next year. The Budget will always announce two things:
- Revised Government revenue and expenditure projections for the current year
- Planned government revenue and expenditures for the upcoming year.
Think about things like
- GST vouchers
- Baby bonus
- Healthcare changes and subsidies (e.g. Medishield Life)
- Productivity schemes for business
- Government housing schemes and property cooling measures
All these will be announced in Budget and they will affect our daily lives. And here are 5 fun facts you may not know about Singapore Budget 2016. Let’s find out…
#1. How is Singapore’s Annual Budget prepared
Let’s take a closer look at the Annual Budget process to find out how government ministries are given the funds.
The preparation of the budget typically goes through the following steps:
- Cabinet approved the budget
- The Minister for Finance presents the Budget to Parliament
- The Committee of Supply debates on the Buget: Members of Parliament query the Government on the expenditure of funds in the previous Financial Year, as well a the proposed budget for the next year.
- Parliament passes the Supply Bill: President’s assent is sought for the enactment of the Supply Bill.
- President’s assent is given. The Supply Bill is enacted as law known as the Supply Act.
The Singapore Budget is prepared for each financial year, which begins on 1 Apr and ends on 31 Mar of the following calendar year.
#2. How Singapore’s fiscal policy navigated us through financial storms
Singapore has weathered three post-independence financial storms;
- 1985 economic crisis
- 1997 Asian financial crisis
- 2008 global financial crisis.
Fiscal prudence has helped tide the country through financial crises, allowing us to protect jobs and businesses, and continue to invest in education and infrastructure. It is a key guiding principle in the government’s fiscal policy.
For example, In 1998, following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, then Minister for Finance Dr Richard Hu emphasised the need to keep “a tight lid on operational expenditures”, but at the same time “increasing capital expenditures, particularly in the key areas of education, economic infrastructure and defence, in order to invest for the long term.”
#3 How Singapore’s Budgeting System evolved
Did you know that from the 1960s till the late 1970s, Singapore adopted a Line-item Budgeting system, which focused on individual items of spending?
The image below shows an example from the Ministry of Health’s Budget in FY1966.
Progressively, the Ministry of Finance devolved greater autonomy to government agencies in the budgeting process. Then Finance Minister Hon Sui Sen described the shift from Line-item Budgeting to Programme Budgeting in Budget 1978:
“Major changes have been made to the presentation and format of the Budget documents…classified according to programmes and activities which will be carried out to achieve specific objectives.”
Over the years, the budgetary framework continued to evolve to
- Block Vote Budgeting in the late 1980s
- Budgeting for Results in 1996
- And finally to the current system of Block Budgeting.
Under Block Budgeting, each ministry is given discretion over how it allocates funds on the specific items within its budget, between operating and development purposes, and across years over the period for the block budget, typically 5 years.
#4. Singapore’s Financial Year did not begin in April
Singapore’s Financial Year (FY) runs from Apr to Mar of the following year. But it was not always the case.
This was adjusted (from the Jan to Dec FY) in Budget 1968 to allow enough time for the Government to give a proper account of the economy during the preceding calendar year. As a result, the transitional FY 1969 lasted 15 months and there was no Budget Statement made in 1969.
#5. How to watch Singapore Budget 2016 Live
There is only one day before Singapore Budget 2016. As you may already know, Minister Heng Swee Keat will be making his maiden budget speech as the Finance Minister in this new term of Government.
The Budget Statement will be presented in Parliament at 3.30pm on Thu, 24 Mar 2016. You can catch it ‘live’ on the following platforms:
- Singapore Budget Website (www.singaporebudget.gov.sg)
- Channel NewsAsia Singapore TV
- Budget 2016 Mobile App (both iOS and Andriod platforms)
A simulcast sign language interpretation will also be available on the Singapore Budget Website.
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If you want to have a quick overview of what has been announced in Singapore Budget 2016, watch the video below: