PART ONE : 800 MILLION DOLLARS AND A SMILE FOR SINGAPOREANS
My head busy is swimming with many threads of thoughts, so I thought writing should help me unravel some of them and make some sense of all these inputs and data.
This is the first of a series of posts I will be embarking on to develop my idea for a futuristic equity basket based on themes I find compelling at the moment and that I hope the kids will thank us for.
The story starts with an amazing discovery I made a fortnight ago after meeting up a friend and realising that the Singapore government has spawned a whole ecosystem of service companies set up to facilitate local firms in the use of government subsidies ranging all the way from nutrition talks to IT infrastructure consultants.
The latest IT subsidies have proven to be hits. This PIC, Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme targeted at SMEs, allowing them to claim tax deductions of up to 400k a year or cash of 100k for IT related expenditure. https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/PIcredit.aspx
What would the country do without the subsidies ?
Looks like my new PC monitor will not qualify and I still have to go to JB to buy that iPad mini just because I am not an employer while others are keeping Courts in business and lapping up those laptops.
Then there is that Inclusive Growth Programme with 90% subsidy for training expenses (feed the consultants) and 50% subsidy for business expenses. http://www.enterpriseone.gov.sg/Government%20Assistance/Grants/Productivity/gp_wda_igp.aspx
There is also Special Employment Credits for hiring employees over 50 where you get a rebate of up to 8% with wages capped at SGD 4,000.
But it gets better now. I am hearing about this SME Talent Scheme where poly grads will get a sign on bonus of $8,000 and ITE grads get $4,000 besides getting a monthly allowance as well as school fees. The SME employers will be reimbursed for 70% of their costs which means they are getting labour/manpower at 30% !
It is pretty much like the MAS initiative to subsidise the annual wages of graduates who joined the financial sector a few years back.
I know quite a few people making extremely good livings out of these grants and subsidies, giving talks on how to eat well, roughing it up in a HDB flat at the moment but building a nice house in a good Australian suburb and buying commercial property here, ready to leave the minute the grants stop flowing. And I heard of others who can make 50% subsidies work out to be 100% for you and them (which I have yet to verify), otherwise there is really no incentive to do anything.
A thought crossed my mind when I was stopped at the junction of Bishan road, turning into Bishan stadium one morning because the kid to be there for his school’s Sports day. It would be so tempting to vote for the Opposition if I had to live through that jam every day (although I am not sure if that ward is already an Opposition controlled one which is the reason for the jam ?).
In Singapore, 800 million dollars will hit some 74,000 bank accounts end March under this Wage Credit Scheme with the promise of more to come and Singapore will run a $1.2 bio budget deficit this year. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/budget-2014-singapore/1007564.html
We have to admit that we are part of a populist world and it has never been a better time to be an underdog now that you can blame someone out there all the time, hold out your hands and get rewarded.
This is the best time in human history to be short, fat, ugly, poor or minority and that other alternative thing which I will not mention suffice that everyone shall be heard ! And everyone is entitled to a good life which brings me to my second observation on the attitude of ENTITLEMENT…. to be discussed in Part Two : In Ender’s Game, Nobody Wants To Be The Servant, that will lead to my conclusion in part three, on what the future holds that we can potentially invest in.