Photo of Lee Hsien Loong and Ho Ching from Facebook

In need for more money, CEO of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings, Ho Ching, revealed that she will be issuing more debt programs like CPF and borrow more from the public. In the past, it was only the subsidiaries like CapitaMall Trust who issued the bonds. This time, Temasek Holdings will issued the bonds directly by itself:

“Investors can invest in Temasek Holding’s first retail private equity bond to help supplement their retirement income Temasek… While Singapore has institutions like CPF for retirement, we think we need to supplement it and companies can participate in this…One of the things we decided to do is to try and make use of our skills and strengths to create new products for individuals to invest for their retirement… Temasek is now  in the process of introducing a product that allows retail investors to invest in private equity funds.”

The wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that she created new debt products for the public to “help them retire”:

“As you know these funds are open and accessible to many of you but not necessarily to the broad masses. But by creating a product which is diversified and therefore provides a better risk adjusted return for the individual, we can bring a new category of product to the market for the retail investor…we try to bring our skills and knowledge to create products in the future for those who want to invest for their retirement.”

Ho Ching’s debt programs runs in-line with another debt program issued by the Singapore government, called the Singapore Savings Bond (SSB). SSB was launched in 2015, with a debt target of S$4 billion. The SSB fund backed by the Singapore government however raised only S$1.1 billion by 2017.

Just earlier last month, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat confirmed that the Singapore government is currently in debt and borrowing from it’s statutory boards and state-owned companies. Officially, the government claimed that the debt is a result of overspending in infrastructural “needs” like Terminal 5.

In recent months, the ruling party government raised several taxes like the 30% water price hike, electricity tariff and the new CareShield Life. The GST increase to 9% was also announced 3 years ahead during Budget 2018. The moves reflected very badly on the government’s financial management, with the public criticising the government for splurging on projects like Terminal 5 and million-dollars ministerial salaries. The public is also worried about the high profile losses of Temasek Holdings and GIC, with many speculating that the government has run out of CPF funds.