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 50 MPs to speak on Budget

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PostSubject: 50 MPs to speak on Budget   50 MPs to speak on Budget Icon_minitimeMon Feb 02, 2009 9:15 pm

50 MPs to speak on Budget
By Jeremy Au Yong

THE JOB-SAVING measures spelt out in the Budget will draw the most attention when the Budget debate begins on the statement begins on Tuesday.

Around 50 MPs are expected to speak during the debate, with most taking their cue from the speech delivered just over a week ago.

On Jan 22, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had unveiled a Budget that was dominated by moves designed to save jobs by helping companies cut costs.

This included the $4.5 billion Jobs Credit scheme that subsidises part of employers' wage bills and and the $5.8 billiona Special Risk Sharing Initiative to help ensure companies have access to financing.

MP Inderjit Singh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, will likely kick off the debate.

He told The Straits Times that he will focus on jobs as he calls for even more to be done to cut costs.

'Generally, I will come up with some suggestions of things we can do in the shorter term.'

He said this will include measures to enhance the lending scheme under the risk-sharing initiative as well as to make sure property tax rebates are channelled to tenants.

The first two days of the Parliamentary sitting will focus on the Budget statement. On Thursday, Parliament evolves into what is called a Committee of Supply to scrutinise each ministry's budgets and policies.

To get to speak on a ministry's plans, an MP tables a token cut to the Ministry's budget, which he withdraws after the minister responds to his queries.

The number of cuts filed - which gives an indication of how intense the debate will be - is still being tabulated and will be made known by Wednesday.

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