Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap (Aljunied): I am dismayed that the Government will be going ahead with the rise in the GST.
My main concern is with the impact on the lower-income households. I note the Government’s explanation that assistance will be provided to this segment of society via various schemes. Nonetheless, I believe any additional cost-cutting measures will be much appreciated by our low-income families.
Sir, if I may cite one example, the application of GST on water tariffs, which already incorporates a Water Conservation Tax (WCT). I recall that when Mr Low Thia Khiang raised this issue, the Government had explained that the GST and WCT served different purposes, and that applying a value-added tax on water tariffs was standard practice elsewhere.
Sir, we should consider if standard practices are helpful before adopting them. We are already taxing our citizens on their water usage via WCT. Is there really a need to perform a double taxation on them with the GST as well?
I believe Members can agree that there is still a substantial number of low-income Singaporeans, especially those living in HDB’s public rental flats who are struggling with their utility bills even though they are being assisted with U-Save rebates. WCT’s amount may seem negligible to many but, to low-income families, every cent and dollar counts.
Sir, if the Government disagrees with the call to abolish GST on WCT, can the Government seriously, at least, consider exempting GST on WCT for Singaporeans who are residing in HDB’s public rental flats?
Ministry of Finance
2 March 2022