The Dive: Everyone misses the point when it comes to the Budget – here’s why! 

By February 22, 2020Current, Local Life, The Dive, Work

TL;DR – It really is all about workers.

The Dive is our new weekend feature where we bring you in-depth news, interesting insights and different perspectives on the latest trends or issues that matter.

Every year after the national Budget is announced to the public, typically in the month of February, the topmost question on everyone’s mind is “So, how much did I get this year?”.

And more often than not, middle to high income earners walk away feeling disgruntled and feeling like they were “missed out” as their incomes do not allow them to qualify for a majority of the subsidies and packages targeted to help uplift lower-income citizens.

Don’t believe me? This is what netizens had to say.

Screenshot from Facebook


We’ve captured even more in our article below but it’s quite clear that many look at the Budget and only think about what they will be receiving in terms of “angbaos” and not taking a long term perspective of it.

Singapore Budget 2020: Should We Give Singaporeans Exactly What They Asked For?

Singapore has always been unique in the sense that our little red dot has no natural resources but makes a name for itself on the global stage on the back of its economy. Our Singapore economy is in turn fueled by Singapore’s only resource – manpower. Thus, there really needs to be a mindset shift where citizens look beyond Government “angbaos” and social transfers to the multiple initiatives that are aimed at workers – whether directly or indirectly.

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Let’s quickly explore some of these that were spelled out in the Budget 2020:

Direct help for workers

SkillsFuture Top-up

Workers face mounting challenges in the workplace, compounded by shorter technology cycles and intense global competition. The SkillsFuture movement aims to help those who are already working to further develop skills to remain employable.

Singaporeans 25 and above would get another top-up of credits ($500) and Singaporeans aged 40 to 60 would get even more support under the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package with an additional top-up of $500 credits. With $1000 under their belt, mid-career workers will have ample choice in upskilling courses – and by that, we don’t mean baking or Korean class!

Have no idea where to even start?

LinkedIn’s “Most In-Demand” Skills list might be worth a look.

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analytical reasoning led LinkedIn’s global list of the most in-demand hard skills in 2019. All these are on the list again this year, but a new skill — blockchain — tops it for 2020.

Need more info? We’ve got a quick 101 guide below:

Your 101 to the SkillsFuture angbao

Indirect help for workers

Jobs Support Scheme

$1.3billion will be spent on helping all enterprises retain their local workers – with the Government offsetting 8% of wages (up to a monthly cap of $3,600) for 3 months. This would benefit 1.9 million local employees in Singapore and will only be given to employers end of July this year – making it very clear to employers that they should put in efforts to retain their local employees as best as possible.

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Enhanced Wage Credit Scheme

Besides strongly encouraging companies to share their increase in productivity gains with workers, the Government will step in to support wage increases, co-funding wage increases for Singaporean employees.

Still complaining? Remember that the Government is funding 20% of your increment to the tune of $1.1 billion and benefitting over 700,000 local employees.

Adapt and Grow

With a dynamically changing job landscape, some jobs might disappear in the near future. 2020 will see an increase in the capacity of reskilling programmes such as the Professional Conversion Programme and other career transition programmes.

For sectors that were hit very badly because of COVID-19 such as tourism, aviation, retail, and food services, there will be enhanced support through redeployment programmes.


It’s all about workers

By now, it should be quite clear that so many of the initiatives rolled out have direct and indirect impact on workers.

The Budget’s initiatives will ultimately help workers be retained in their jobs (even in a difficult economic climate), get pay increments, upskill and develop new interests or be redeployed from badly hit sectors. Even efforts aimed to help grow the economy would ultimately trickle down to help workers.

Instead of looking at the Budget through very myopic lenses and focusing only on the tangible “angbaos“, it’s high time people understand the rationale behind how the Singapore Budgets is structured and doled out. Perhaps only then can workers truly maximise all the Budget has to offer.

Are you going to be a #wokeworker this year?

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(Featured image via)

The Dive: Budget 2020 – How to decide who and where to spend money on? What if money no enough?


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Author Zahra

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