SINGAPORE: All Singaporeans aged 21 and above this year will get a one-off SG Bonus of up to S$300 each as the Budget for 2017 came in with a surplus of almost S$10 billion.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat shared this during his Budget speech in Parliament on Monday (Feb 19), saying that this “reflects the Government’s long-standing commitment to share the fruits of Singapore’s development with Singaporeans”. He described the Bonus as a “hongbao”.
It will be paid according to people’s assessable income. About 2.7 million people will get the payouts, which are due at the end of 2018.
Those with an annual income of S$28,000 or below will be eligible for a payout of S$300, those whose income is S$28,001-S$100,000 will receive S$200, and people whose income is in excess of S$100,000 will receive S$100.
This SG Bonus will cost the Government S$700 million.
It will be the first time since 2011 that the Government is handing out cash bonuses to Singaporeans.
In 2011, which was also an election year, 2.5 million Singaporeans aged 21 and above were given "growth dividends" of between S$100 and S$800, which cost the Government S$1.5 billion. Prior to that, the Government gave out dividends of between S$100 and S$400 in 2008.
Singapore’s revised Budget position for FY2017 showed a surplus of S$9.61 billion, helped by exceptional contributions from Statutory Boards and higher-than-expected Stamp Duty.
The surplus will also be used in other ways.
Mr Heng said that S$5 billion will be set aside for the Rail Infrastructure Fund, to save up for the new rail lines that Singapore is building.
Furthermore, S$2 billion will be set aside for premium subsidies and other forms of support when the ElderShield review is complete.