Singapore’s water agency, Public Utilities Board (PUB), posted a S$166 million profit in their financial report in 2016. The PUB has been hugely profitable since inception and even posted a total of S$1 billion profit in merely 8 years since 2008.
This however warrant a 30% price increase, which will likely shore up PUB’s profits by at least S$50 million in next year’s financial result. Forming PUB’s income stream are all businesses and residents in Singapore, and Malaysia which buys back refined water after selling raw water to Singapore.
In the Budget announced on Monday (Feb 20), the government said they will increase water prices by 30% to build more water infrastructure when the current water plants are able to sustain both the country and the Malaysia state Johor. Although unannounced, the extra water facilities are required for the 6.9 million population target by 2030. Singapore will begin to face water shortage if it continues to increase its population beyond its current 5.75 million.
The 30% water price increase is expected to cause a wave of inflation in all goods and services, and is likely to hit the poor hardest. The rich will of course feels little or no impact seeing a few hundred dollars of increase in expenses every month, but the outlook is going to be bleak for the already-struggling middle class and poor who have very tight cash flow.
The price increase was legislated by the ruling party government with no debate or mention in Parliament. Legalised corruption remains rampant in the country and the authoritarian often passes law without consultation from the public. Criticisms of public officials and the government will result in defamation lawsuits or arrest from the police under the country’s sedition laws.