The recent fee hikes on water and electricity are hitting Singaporeans especially hard and in more ways than one.
Already one of the most expensive cities in the world, the price increases are making life even more burdensome and stressful for citizens here.
Water prices just went up another 15% this week. This is the second increase, the first 15% hike took place in 2017. Before these increases, the PAP already levies the Waterborne Fee and Water Conservation Tax – and a 7% GST on top of these two taxes.
The government also announced a 6.9% hike in electricity tariffs starting this month. It has increased electricity rates four times since October last year. The rate has gone up by a whopping 16.8% this year alone.
These price increases are wholly unnecessary as the government collected a surplus of $10 billion in taxes in 2017 with hundreds of billions more in the reserves. Greed and the continued pay-and-pay mentality is driving these unjustified increases.
The PAP has also increased public carparks fees and ERP rates as well as added more ERP gantries in the last few years. There are also signs that bus and MRT fares will be jacked up. The GST is set to increase to 9%.
All this has a tremendous impact on Singaporeans with the struggling lower- and middle-income segments hardest hit.
Analysts note that household debt in Singapore “has been growing at an alarming rate” since 2009 with income growth “not sufficient to fund increasing cost of living”.
Not only do these increases hurt residents, businesses also report that their bottom-lines have been affected.
Hawkers, for example, say that the water and electrity rate increases are eating into their profits. Drinks stalls and F&B outlets have already increased prices of drinks. Other vendors have reduced portions and ingredients. Again, average Singaporeans bear the brunt.
This is despite Minister Indranee Rajah assuring Singaporeans that the water price increase “should not and ought not” lead to businesses increasing prices.
Such empty promises demonstrates the utter delusion and hypocrisy of the PAP. First, how is the increase of the price of water – by an unheard of 30% – not hurt businesses? Second, how can Ms Indranee tell businesses not to increase prices if the government does it?
Mr Lee Soon Kiat of the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association, warned that the electricity and water tariffs, as well as carbon tax levied next year, would affect profit margins and risk an exodus of companies to cheaper countries.
He said that “the Government has to adopt a consultative approach (going forward), and to avoid any unnecessary hikes.”
Mr Lee Hsien Loong told voters during the 2015 general elections: “I ask for your trust. We will work with you, we will fight for you!”
But true to form, after given an increased vote-margin, the PAP took full advantage of the people and embarked on an extensive exercise of revenue collection. Singaporeans must not forget this.