I refer to the article “880,000 Singaporean households to receive GST Voucher of up to $95 in October” (Straits Times, Oct 2).

It states that “About 880,000 Singaporean households will receive a GST Voucher of up to $95 to offset part of their utilities bills in October, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Monday (Oct 2).

The rebate is expected to cost $265 million over a year, starting from July, said the MOF.”

In this connection, I remember reading in the media a few months ago that the rebate was estimated to cost $190 million (“It is distributed every quarter and is estimated to cost $190 million each year” (Straits Times, Apr 3)).

So, it would appear that we are more generous now in increasing the estimated cost of the rebates from $190 to $265 million a year starting from July, not to mention that the price of water has increased by at least 30 per cent.

However, if we go back to the year 2001 –  the annual cost of the rebates was $226 million, for about 800,000 households.

So, does it not look kind of odd that 800,000 households were given $226 million in 2001, whereas a higher number of households – 880,000 – were given less – $190 million in 2017?

It may look even odder because the electricity tariff at 20.72 cents (July to September 2017) was about 17 per cent higher than the 17.66 cents in 1 August, 2000 (note: I couldn’t find the tariff for 2001).

So, it would seem that the number of households increased by 10 per cent (80,000) – the electricity tariff increased by 17 per cent, but the cost of the rebates decreased by 16 per cent ($36 million) – from 2001 to 2017!

Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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