The bottom 20 per cent of households “got more” from both the permanent and one-off goods and services tax (GST) vouchers, than the amount of GST payable, said Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (11 May).
Mr Wong was responding to a question from the Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Sengkang GRC Louis Chua, who asked about the percentage of GST paid by the bottom 20 per cent of households is offset by the GST vouchers.
In response, the Minister noted that the permanent GST voucher scheme offset an average of 84 per cent of the annual GST payable by the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporean households from 2018 to last year.
In addition, the GST special payments had also offset 33 per cent of the annual GST payable by these households in 2019 and last year, on top of the 84 per cent offset by the permanent vouchers.
“In other words, in this extraordinary year, households in the bottom 20 per cent got more from both the permanent and one-off GST vouchers, than the amount of GST payable,” he remarked.
Mr Chua then asked the Government’s target amount of GST payable that should be offset and the percentage of Singaporeans who come under the GST vouchers.
Noting that the assessable income criteria work out to about S$2,300 a month is “significantly lower than the median monthly income” from work of about S$4,500, he asked if more help could be rendered to the middle-income households.
Mr Wong replied that the Government has been tackling inequality through a range of social support measures for at least 20 years now.
“And you can see from the statistics that, in fact, Gini coefficient in Singapore, post-tax and transfers, has been coming down. So our measures are working,” he added.
Mr Wong also noted that the Government is looking into enhancing the permanent layer GST voucher scheme” when the planned GST hike takes effect.