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Singapore extends freeze on government fees to cushion inflation
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20:06, February 27, 2008

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The Singapore government announced Wednesday it will extend the one-year freeze on government fees which started last July till the end of 2008 to help Singaporeans cushion inflation.

Announcing this in Parliament, Singapore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said "the move is to provide further reassurance to Singaporeans at a time of rising prices," according to local television Channel NewsAsia.

The move will include fees charged on all government-provided services such as school fees, charges in public car parks, and all license fees.

The one-year freeze was implemented when the goods and services tax (GST) rate was raised from 5 percent to 7 percent last July.

However, regulatory charges and fees charged by non-government entities will not be frozen.

Singapore's January inflation accelerated at a faster pace with the consumer price index (CPI) jumping 6.6 percent from a year earlier, following a record high of 4.4 percent in December.

During the three-day Budget debate, many Members of Parliament called on the government to do more to help Singaporeans, especially the low-income group, to cope with the hike of cost of living.

In his speech to wrap up the debate, the financial minister ensured that assistance has and will be given.

In his Budget Statement for the Fiscal Year 2008 on Feb. 15, Shanmugaratnam announced a 1.8 billion Singapore dollars (about 1.28 billion U.S. dollars) package of bonus to distribute to Singaporeans.

Source: Xinhua

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