Constitution protects land and proceeds from its sale as past reserves: Swee Keat
Include a portion of land sales proceeds in the Budget, or use more of the returns from the reserves – these are tempting suggestions to raise government revenue and easier to swallow than hiking taxes. But it would be “ill-disciplined and unwise” for the government to do so by amending the rules as a first resort, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told Parliament on Thursday.
Singapore’s population expected to be below 6.9 million by 2030
Singapore is not expected to change its immigration policy, and its population is likely to be “significantly below” 6.9 million by 2030, said Josephine Teo, who is in charge of population matters in the Prime Minister’s Office. The figure refers to a projection set out in the 2013 Population White Paper for planning purposes, but which had sparked a public outcry.
3 in 4 SMEs unfazed by proposed GST hike: DBS survey
A survey by DBS Bank has found that three in four small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore believe that the proposed goods and services tax (GST) hike would have no impact or at most, only moderate impact on their businesses.
GST hike responsible way to fund spending needs: Heng
Windfalls and one-off gains – like the ones that led to the unexpected Budget surplus of $9.6 billion in the last financial year – cannot form the basis of prudent fiscal policy, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. That is why the goods and services tax (GST), a broad-based tax, has to be raised – to fund expenses in healthcare, education and security long into the future, he said. Given Singapore’s ageing population and the need to counter the terror threat, this spending is likely to recur year after year.
GST hike will come with more help for low and middle income
Lower-and middle-income families as well as elderly people in need will receive additional help when the goods and services tax (GST) is raised, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat promised yesterday. Wrapping up an at-times contentious Budget debate in Parliament, he said the permanent GST Voucher Scheme to cushion the impact of the tax will be enhanced and a transitional offset package favouring those of lower and middle incomes will also be launched when the GST is increased to 9 per cent.
Economic transformation ‘more urgent by the day’
The most critical challenge facing Singapore today is to transform the economy, and this grows more urgent by the day, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat warned yesterday. In his Budget debate round-up speech, Mr Heng said growing the economy is not only the best way of ensuring strong and sustainable revenues, but also the most important way for Singaporeans to realise their aspirations.
PayNow to be extended to businesses, public agencies
Businesses will soon be able to receive payments from other businesses and even consumers through homegrown funds transfer tool PayNow, announced Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, at the Committee of Supply debate yesterday.
Deepening Asean connectivity a key economic objective for Singapore, says trade minister
A key economic objective for Singapore this year, as it takes over the Asean chairmanship, is to deepen regional connectivity to position Asean for seamless economic activity and growing opportunities, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang on Thursday.
Singapore Real Estate
Pines members move to take legal action against club owner Exklusiv Resorts
Members of The Pines club are looking to start a representative action suit against club owner Exklusiv Resorts and have engaged Derrick Wong & Lim BC LLP to represent them, in what could unfold like the Raffles Town Club case two decades ago. Representative action is a more simplified version of what other jurisdictions term class action because it offers less extensive protection to plaintiffs.
Year’s first successful auction of Sentosa Cove home sold at S$2.4m loss
A two-level penthouse on the sixth storey of The Berth By The Cove has become the first mortgagee sale unit on Sentosa Cove to go under the hammer and be sold this year. This took place at Edmund Tie & Company’s (ET&Co) auction on Thursday. The property received five bids, and was eventually sold for S$3.25 million, or S$1,105 per sq ft (psf).
New Savills managing director forecasts ‘AAA’ office rental growth to hit 10% this year
Bells are ringing for landlords amid a shortage in supply in the core CBD area and increased demand from various industry groups, Savills Singapore’s new managing director Marcus Loo told The Business Times yesterday. He added that the global real estate service provider, which is listed in the London stock exchange, forecasts rental growth for ‘AAA’ grade office buildings to more than double to 10 per cent this year.
Cortina closes almost all its watch outlets in Wisma Atria
Cortina Holdings has shut virtually all its watch boutiques in Wisma Atria in Orchard Road, after what is believed to be the local watch retailer’s failure to renew their leases at lower rentals. Both the SGX-listed Cortina and Wisma’s landlord, Starhill Global Reit, declined to comment when approached on Thursday.
More home fittings are water-efficient
If people can see an image of more ice melting around a polar bear the more water they use in the shower, they may just not be able to bear it, it seems. A pilot test by national water agency PUB showed that smart shower heads featuring the bear animation and which also digitally display real-time water usage helped people save 3 per cent on monthly water usage.
How OUE could craft its exit strategy for OUE Downtown
OUE’s full-year results released recently revealed that its revamped Downtown property in Shenton Way helped to contribute to an increase in the group’s revenue. The mixed-development’s retail podium, Downtown Gallery, opened in May last year, followed by the 268-unit Oakwood Premier serviced residences the following month.
CapitaLand acquires Hanoi site; sets up second fund in Vietnam
CapitaLand has acquired a prime site for its first integrated development in Hanoi, Vietnam, and has set up its second commercial fund in the country – the CapitaLand Vietnam Commercial Value-Added Fund. The land in Tay Ho district will be developed into a 25-storey mixed-use development worth roughly US$217 million.
UOL ‘still eyeing residential sites’
UOL Group is still on the lookout for more residential sites with strong attributes in Singapore, despite having secured a few sites ahead of the run-up in land prices. Deputy group CEO Liam Wee Sin, however, expressed concern over the aggressive escalation of land prices in its full-year earnings briefing. He noted that the reserve price of some collective sale sites whose tenders closed without a deal “doesn’t work” based on the group’s feasibility studies.
GIC in 5.5b Mexican peso JV to develop and operate rental apartment buildings in Mexico
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has entered a 5.5 billion Mexican peso (S$387.8 million) joint venture (JV) deal to develop and operate for-rent multi-family buildings in Mexican cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara.
Yanlord’s Q4 profit falls 23%
Real estate developer Yanlord Land Group’s profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 attributable to owners of the company fell 23 per cent to 1.19 billion yuan (S$248.93 million) from the year-ago period, on the back of a 14 per cent rise in revenue to 11.28 billion yuan.
Rowsley’s full-year loss widens by 11 per cent
Real estate-focused Rowsley’s full-year net loss widened by 11 per cent to S$56.16 million on a 9 per cent dip in its revenue. Earnings per share for the year ended Dec 31, 2017, were 1.193 Singapore cents, down from 1.379 Singapore cents.
Mary Chia subsidiary to sell hotel property for S$64.8m
A subsidiary of Mary Chia Holdings has entered into an agreement to sell a hotel property to JL Asia Resources Pte Ltd for S$64.8 million. Hotel Culture, a 51-per-cent subsidiary of Mary Chia, is looking to divest its property located on Nos 48, 49 and 50 Mosque Street together with the hotel building there to JL Asia.
Solar energy from S’pore to power Microsoft
Microsoft yesterday said it will purchase solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore, the technology company’s first renewable energy deal in Asia. Microsoft will buy 100 per cent of the electricity generated from Sunseap’s 60 megawatt-peak solar power project for 20 years for its Singapore data operations, the software company said in a statement.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Why not use land sale proceeds?
Most land parcels in Singapore are sold on leases – and would return to the Government after a spell. Why then would it be imprudent to use proceeds from their sale to fund Singapore’s spending?
The long view of financing Singapore’s needs
This is an edited excerpt of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s speech in Parliament yesterday, wrapping up the debate on the Budget. After explaining Singapore’s growing spending needs to meet healthcare, social and infrastructure demands, he outlined the country’s approach to financing its needs.
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