Photo of elderly with Lee Hsien Loong taken at Toa Payoh from States Times Review

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat shot down criticisms over the new Carbon Tax, saying that it is too troublesome to have a benchmark and that it is easier to make everyone pay a blanket tax:

“The Government has decided to implement a credits-based carbon tax uniformly across sectors with no exemptions. This is the economically efficient way to maintain a transparent, fair and consistent carbon price across the economy to incentivise emissions reduction. The decision was reached on the basis that each unit of emissions contributes equally to climate change, regardless of whether the emissions came from emitters that perform better or worse than the benchmark. Determining benchmarks for each sector and ensuring that they are equitable across sectors is a complicated and contentious process.”

The Carbon Tax calculation will start in 2019, and be paid in 2020. This will increase the electricity bill by at least S$3.30 a month for the average households. However, Minister Heng Swee Keat claimed that the impact will be “small”:

“When it comes to households, the impact of the carbon tax will be small, making up about 1 per cent of total electricity and gas expenses on average. The carbon tax is expected to translate to a rise in electricity prices of about 0.21 cents per kWh, assuming the full tax is passed on to end-users.”

To appease Singaporeans, the government will give each household S$20 discount off their utility bills:

“To help households adjust, the Government will provide additional Utilities-Save (U-Save) rebates from 2019 to 2021. During this period, each eligible Housing and Development Board (HDB) household will receive S$20 more per year.”

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat the Carbon Tax will bring in S$1 billion in tax revenues for the first five years and “encourage” businesses to reduce carbon emissions:

“The carbon tax will encourage businesses to take measures to reduce carbon emissions as large emitters account for about 80 per cent of Singapore’s emissions. Companies that do so will be more competitive, as more countries impose tighter limits on their carbon emissions and international agreements on climate change like the Paris Agreement take effect…I urge companies to do their part for a higher quality living environment for all by putting in meritorious proposals for emissions abatement and energy efficiency.”