Singapore Elections: Helping the needy?

I refer to the articles “BG Tan unveils plans to help less well-off in Chai Chee” and “$3m scheme to help 30,000 needy”

The latter states that “It is giving out $3 million worth of discount vouchers – three times the value dished out last year – to about 30,000 low-income members”.

8 cents a day?

Last year, NTUC gave vouchers that were about three times less than this year, i.e. $30.

This works out to about 8 cents a day per family ($30 divided by 365 days) for last year, and about 27 cents per day for this year, to each needy union member’s family who successfully apply.

Since NTUC union membership fees are $117 per annum, one way of looking at it, may be that if you are a needy union member family, you got about 25 per cent ($30 vouchers divided by $117 membership fee) of your union dues back in the form of discount vouchers last year, and will get about 85 per cent back this year.

August 1, then can use?

Although the article said “The vouchers will be given out by Aug 1”, according to NTUC’s web site , “These vouchers will be valid from 1 August 2011 till 31 January 2012”.

Warehouse coordinator, Mohamed Ansary Ismail, 43, who is the sole breadwinner supporting his wife and three teenage children on his $1,500 monthly wage, whose monthly grocery bill is only about $150.

“Normally I try to watch what I spend and stick to the basics like rice and sugar. But I can afford to splurge a bit more on my family when I receive the vouchers – and is glad of the helping hand,” said Ansary.

I wonder if he knows that he can only use the vouchers in about more than three months time from 1 August.

Hopefully, he has not jumped the gun and told his children already and perhaps suffer a temporary disappointment when he reads the fine print when he receives his vouchers.

Why can’t the vouchers be effective immediately and dispatched as and when they are approved after eligible union members apply? Can and should needy families have to wait for more than three months?

Total membership dues?

By the way, with 580,000 members, NTUC’s revenue from membership fees alone in a year is about $68 million.

How many needy?

If there are 30,000 needy union members’ families out of NTUC’s 580,000 membership, how many needy families are there in total in Singapore, since the total number of resident workers is 1,990,700, as of December, 2010.

How much in total in a year?

How much profits do all the NTUC subsidiaries (12 NTUC social entreprises) make in a year, on top of its fund raising efforts, like the $6.9 million which has been raised under the U Care Fund in this year alone, after just about three months?

“Commentary and opinions are a dime a dozen – let the statistics do the talking!”