Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Singapore Budget - I do not comprehend.

Out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at the basic form of the Singapore budget - Revenue and Expenditure. These can be found here (with explanatory notes, which I didn't find particularly helpful):

Here is the press announcement about the budget in Singapore mainstream media:

My confusion lies with the figures ... according to the news report, we are drawing on S$4.9 billion from the reserves to fund the extra ("Resilience Package") programs. Yet, unless I've misread the whole thing, we're expected to have an income of S$55,322,614,000 and an expenditure of S$66,280,667,000. Shouldn't we be drawing on S$11.0 billion from the reserves? or do we have a S$6.1 billion surplus in FY 2008 we could use? Or have I totally misunderstood the definition of national reserves?

It would really be nice if someone knowledgeable with national economics would help me out here ... I've only looked at the 4 most basic summary documents. Will looking at the individual annexes shed more light on the matter?


ArtBoon said...

I have not looked at the numbers in detail either.
But I think Singpaore government can now fund using net return from investment. This is to address cash shortfall, I believe.
If you could sort of write out what you have read (rather than for me to go in and read all the detials), maybe I can help?

Chee Wai Lee said...

Hi ArtBoon, thanks for the offer. I'll try to see if I can find the time to make enough sense of the numbers to distill a sufficiently complete summary that will help you (to help me, heh).

The original data details are in the form of tables. One of them is actually a balance sheet that includes cash reserves (which I assume are not our national reserves). That's also the reason I did not try to summarize parts of the table ... I did not want to muddle it further.

ArtBoon said...

Great. If we could do this collaboratively, ie you do some work and I work on it a little more, maybe we could all find out what we want to find out, together.

Chee Wai Lee said...

I'm so sorry, I've been so horribly busy with trying to graduate that this has fallen to the sidelines. Might still be a worthwhile project, but I think others on the blogosphere have analyzed the problem to death (not that the government seems to pay attention).