'Bumper surplus' for government coffers

SINGAPORE - Economists expect to see a handsome surplus for the government coffers this financial year thanks to better economic growth last year. Experts said they predict a better-than-anticipated surplus of up to $6.5 billion for the year ending March 31 - well above the $2.4 billion official estimate.

But the surplus looks likely to be more modest in the following fiscal year ending on March 31 next year due to higher social and infrastructure spending coupled with weaker tax collections amid a cooling property market.

The overall surplus is calculated by deducting expenditures, top-ups to endowment funds and special transfers from government operating revenues and investment returns.

Estimates obtained by The Straits Times show that economists expect the surplus to range from as low as $3.6 billion to as high as $6.5 billion for the financial year that ends on March 31.

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