SINGAPORE: Singaporeans aged 21 and older will receive a one-time bonus of S$100 to S$300 (RM296 to RM888) depending on their income, said the country's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday.
Those with assessable income of S$28,000 (RM82,965) and below for income earned in 2016 will receive S$300 (RM888), while those earning S$28,001 to S$100,000 (RM82,968 to RM296,000) will get S$200 (RM592).
Assessable income refers to total income after deducting allowable expenses and approved donations.
Singaporeans who earn above S$100,000 (RM296,000) or own more than one property will get S$100 (RM296).
The one-time SG Bonus will cost S$700mil (RM2.07bil) in total.
"This hongbao reflects the government's longstanding commitment to share the fruits of Singapore's development with Singaporeans," Heng said.
He noted that the government expects an overall Budget surplus of S$9.6bil (RM28.45bil) for its 2017 financial year, higher than the initial forecast of S$1.9bil (RM5.63bil).
Heng attributed the additional S$7.7bil (RM22.8bil) mainly to "exceptional statutory board contributions of S$4.6bil (RM13.63bil)" - primarily from the Monetary Authority of Singapore - and increased stamp duty collections of S$2bil (RM5.93bil) due to the recent property market pick-up.
Such exceptional factors are not expected every year, and the government cannot base its long-term fiscal planning on them, he said.
Besides sharing some of the surplus via the bonus, Heng said S$5bil (RM14.82bil) will go to a rail infrastructure fund, and another S$2bil (RM5.93bil) for premium subsidies and other forms of support when the ElderShield review is complete.
The government had previously included one-off items in its Budget announcements.
Middle-income earners who paid personal income tax received a 50% rebate of up to S$1,000 (RM2,963) in Budget 2015, adding up to S$717mil (RM2.12bil). That same year, eligible Singaporeans aged 55 and above also received a one-off Seniors' Bonus of S$150 (RM444) to S$600 (RM1,777) in cash.
For Budget 2011, the government gave out S$1.5bil (RM4.44bil) worth of "growth dividends", with 80% of Singaporeans getting S$500 (RM1,481) to S$700 (RM2,074) each. In 2008, a S$1.8bil (RM5.33bil) surplus-sharing hongbao was handed out to all citizens. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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