Is it Fiduciary Suicide to Give Out Our Hard Earned Reserves to Profitable Firms such as Citibank?

It was reported that a sum of $35 million provided as wage subsidies to 32 commercial firms had been returned to the government. Apparently, these companies do not need money from our reserves.

Another 29 companies also reported that they do not wish to receive further wage subsidies. No amount has been stated or how much they would receive had they not declined.

This is a huge sum of money by any means contributed by our hardworking forefathers, mothers, uncles and aunts by their sweat and toil. Some of our foreparents even preceded our labeled pioneer generation.

The refund of $35 million by these companies is no small beer. It was also reported that Citibank was among the returnees of the money.

Giving out large tranches of money erroneously during times such as this elicit some soul searching on what went wrong. Why are there no background checks carried out before large swaths of money are given away?

This would have been under the radar had the 32 firms choose not to return these $35 million! And Singaporeans will not be any wiser.

One of the firms cited was Citibank as a prominent returnee, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Helping Citibank is akin to assist them paying out MORE dividends to its shareholders! Never mind that it’s Singapore Branch has a high percentage of Singapore employees.

There is no prize for guessing who the majority of the shareholders are! They are definitely not Singapore citizens or Singaporean corporate entities for that matter.

This breach of fiduciary duties is an embarrassment to all Singaporeans with hand wringing by the lowest 20 percentile of our poor citizens.

This lackadaisical attitude in which our hard earned savings were given out deserves more than a slap on the wrist compared to the case on the award of contract under waiver of competition by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

It would now appear that both the authorising and approving officers of the wage subsidies did not bother to carry out any background checks before sending out moneys to these 32 returnee companies. If they had done so, this would not happen.

Will similar checks be carried out on those who have yet to raise their hands on returning the reserve? Or adopt a wait and see attitude until they sent in their corporate tax returns?

To make matters worse, the government has now said that they will be using the returned portion and declined reserves for OTHER USES (emphasis mine) and also telling firms that they can use the reserves for PHILANTHROPIC (emphasis mine) purpose as well.

Oh hell! Did you say ‘Philanthropic?’ Err! Have they ever thought about the new poor from Chinatown to Jurong to Ponggol, Tampines and to the north of the city?

Is this allowed in sound financial practice by deviating from the original intent of saving jobs or the newfangled term of ‘JSS?’

If not, the returned $35 million by the companies should be sent directly back to the reserve account. This is the essence of sound finance and accounting practice.

For Singapore which wants to rival London for the number one financial hub position, it has to be clear headed when dealing with large tranches of money and its original intent.

Needless to say, the government needs a thorough review and overhaul of its procedures and processes in its financial management, especially our reserves.
A sound reporting system should also show the status of the allocated reserves including savings, if any after the pandemic recedes.

 

Gilbert Tan

 

 

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20 Responses to “Is it Fiduciary Suicide to Give Out Our Hard Earned Reserves to Profitable Firms such as Citibank?”

  • Criminal waste of reserve:

    Those who return the money most likely consist of less than 1%, compared to 99% who happily keep the windfall.

    Billions are wasted by the PAP gov.

    1. Either they are incompetent. Other countries require proof of big lost of revenue, which can be easily processed.

    2. Or they have other secret motives. It is very unlike the PAP to throw money everywhere. Look at individual welfare. People have to apply and show that they are VERY poor.

    In my opinion, this is criminal waste of our reserve. Out of the $100 billion used, only about 2% go to the average Singaporean.

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  • Realistically:

    @ Gilbert Tan

    “There is no prize for guessing who the majority of the shareholders are! They are definitely not Singapore citizens or Singaporean corporate entities for that matter.”

    Hello Gilbert Tan, GIC is the biggest (or could be one of the biggest) shareholder of CitiGroup lah……….GIC bought Citi shares just before the Global Financial Crisis hit all financial companies in their faces.

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  • Foreigners are hardworking:

    Dear Gilbert,
    You cannot even prevent yourselves from being conned by lazy and unmotivated Singaporeans and yet you had the audacity to comment on our great PAP ?

    Go fix your own problem first….

    Did you demand that the Singaporeans scammer return all the donation monies
    you stupidly give without doing mean testing like us PAP ?

    Facts:
    http://theindependent.sg/activist-files-police-report-against-woman-who-said-she-lied-about-being-evicted-by-hdb-to-seek-donations/

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    $PAP$ Tua Kee; Majullah $PAP$; $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

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  • Doing Very Well, thankyou.:

    Firms like Sheng Siong and FairPrice should be doing boooming business because of Covid; did they return the money to taxpayers?

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  • scholarships for foreign ers:

    I appeal to the sporegovt to stop giving scholarships to foreign students,abolish it or at least reduce by 80 pct,
    Money saved use it to help local students , I felt sad when I read some has no iPads or computers to use at home,have problems in e learning,
    Giving help to foreign students is law of diminishing returns; many donot stay behind to finish their bonds when they complete their studies , idea is we pick best crops of other countries so that they become part of our country,it does not work out that way in many instances,
    Surely there is talent also among students fr lower income groups,
    Has not the govt claimed that many in ruling party became what they are fr help by govt and came fr humble backgrounds,?
    Help the poor in our midst first,if yr children are hungry you feed them first and not outsiders.

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  • use wisely:

    Maybe they should have give companies an opt out if they are not affected or still able to cope without the government support.
    Alternative only company whose revenue drop below eg 70% are entitled to support.
    Should be more generous to those hard hit and spend the hard earn reserve more wisely.

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  • hopelessnuselesspap:

    WHEN OPPO TALK ABOUT USING RESERVES TO HELP OUR POOR, PAP SAID OUR RESERVES ARE NOT TO BE TOUCH.

    BUT NOW,

    THEY , PAP ARE BANKRUPTING OUR NATION…

    FOR ALL TO SEE , ….

    STUPID SINKIES CANNOT BE BLIND TO THIS CORRUPTION

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  • Crony is systemic corruption:

    (Needless to say, the government needs a thorough review and overhaul of its procedures and processes in its financial management, especially our reserves. A sound reporting system should also show the status of the allocated reserves including savings, if any after the pandemic recedes.)

    Non-transparency implies non-accountability; it means that there are cobwebs and skeletons hidden in their financial records. Corporate Papeconomics & hidden salaries.

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  • SaveSG:

    It takes a virus to expose the bad side of pap leadership:

    1. Non-Preparedness
    – U-turn on mask wearing; non-compliance of FEDA enacted since
    2015; insufficient test kits to conduct speedy mass testing to
    detect silent spreaders early to contain outbreak etc

    2. Non-Accountability
    – Till today no one admit to costly mistake (almost $100b) in
    mishandling

    3. Non-Prudence
    – Dishing out JSS package on a blanket basis instead of targeted
    approach etc

    For a post-pandemic SG, can we trust pap to lead us?

    TO SAVE SG, VOTE FOR CHANGE AT THE UPCOMING GE!

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  • Realistically:

    To be more correct, GIC bought CitiGroup’s convertible preferred securities which then converted into ordinary shares following the TARP bailout of Citigroup and the restructuring of Citi’s paid up capital.

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  • Kettle and Pots Are Both Black:

    To them this is Ah Kong’s money and they will not lose a single cent on their $M salary. So why bother?

    In anyhow, the main objective for giving out, other then helping the Companies/Organisations and citizens/PRs to cope due to the lockdown because of the Covid 19 pandemic in the last three extra budgets, is simply to sweeten the ground to pave the way for the coming GE to their favour.

    Whether or not those big companies/organisation (Private/Public or listed) require the financial support is secondary or simply ignored. Just take one example, Seng Siong, which is a public listed had just reported to have huge profit in the last quarter.

    This information is at their website.

    “Sheng Siong Group’s net profit grew 49.9% yoy to S$29.0 million for 1Q2020″

    http://www.shengsiong.com.sg/news/125/Sheng-Siong-Group%E2%80%99s-net-profit-grew-49.9%25-yoy–to-S%2429.0-million-for-1Q2020.html

    They also declared that all their staff will get an extra month of salary.

    So will Seng Siong also be getting the same financial support from these three extra budgets (automatically)??????

    They have requested those citizens/PRs [B]TO APPLY [/B] for the financial supports for who are self employed, those who lost their jobs and those who were put on no pay leave during this period BUT for companies and orgnanistaion, they just simply give them the financial support without the need for them to apply or ask for it???

    Wow!! These money must be dropping from the sky.

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  • Equity:

    ….” supermarkets and hypermarkets have seen higher sales of 35.9% year-on-year in March, due to the increased demand for groceries during the coronavirus pandemic, reported CNA.”
    —Yes, they are booming; return money to tax-payers!
    Do not profit from suffering of others.

    Doing Very Well, thankyou.:
    Firms like Sheng Siong and FairPrice should be doing boooming business because of Covid; did they return the money to taxpayers?

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  • Hu Chian:

    Quote,

    ” FOND of having the last word, Singapore’s government can nevertheless be flexible. Who would have thought it would be building casinos? But one policy that shows no sign of reversing is Singapore’s antipathy towards public welfare. The state’s attitude can be simply put: being poor here is your own fault. Citizens are obliged to save for the future, rely on their families and not expect any handouts from the government unless they hit rock bottom. The emphasis on family extends into old age: retired parents can sue children who fail to support them. In government circles “welfare” remains a dirty word, cousin to sloth and waste. Singapore may be a nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny.

    The aftershock of a deep recession, which pushed unemployment among citizens up to 4.1% in September—high for Singapore—has not altered the popular belief that the dole is bad for society. The casinos, which open on February 14th, have already helped reduce unemployment, which by December had fallen back to 3%, seasonally adjusted.

    The government does run a handful of schemes directed at some of the needy, from low-income students to the unassisted elderly. But these benefits are rigorously means-tested and granted only sparingly. The most destitute citizens’ families may apply for public assistance; only 3,000 currently qualify. Laid-off workers receive no automatic benefits. Instead they are sorted into “workfare” and training schemes.”

    Welfare in Singapore: The stingy nanny
    https://www.thinkcentre.org/article.php?id=3037

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  • Hu Chian:

    Quote,

    “Singapore was called a “stingy nanny” city state a decade ago, for a low welfare budget relative to its wealth as the world’s third-richest country. That stinginess is changing, as Asian retailers confront their worst business slump in decades in a time of the coronavirus
    pandemic.

    Since the government unveiled S$60 billion (US$42 billion) in stimulus package two weeks ago, an A-list of landlords – some of which majority-owned by state investment arm – have rushed to share the goodies with businesses to protect jobs. The government even enacted a law, just to make sure of that.

    That is music to the ears for Bluebell group, the region’s biggest distributor of luxury retail brands with US$2 billion in sales, who pays some of the most expensive retail space in malls
    across Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.”

    Site,
    https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3080479/singapores-stingy-nanny-abates-and-outshines-hong-kong-rental-relief-ease
    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-stingy-nanny-abates-outshines-113943347.html

    An anatomy of crony capitalism | The Business Standard
    https://tbsnews.net/analysis/anatomy-crony-capitalism

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  • KNN:

    Foreigners are hardworking:
    Dear Gilbert,
    You cannot even prevent yourselves from being conned by lazy and unmotivated Singaporeans and yet you had the audacity to comment on our great PAP ?

    Go fix your own problem first….

    Did you demand that the Singaporeans scammer return all the donation monies
    you stupidly give without doing mean testing like us PAP ?

    Facts:
    http://theindependent.sg/activist-files-police-report-against-woman-who-said-she-lied-about-being-evicted-by-hdb-to-seek-donations/

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    $PAP$ Tua Kee; Majullah $PAP$; $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    Completely agreed. Poor Singaporeans like to con the weak people who mistaken themselves as kind hearted people. Got any problem they approached them to help. After problem solved they still think PAP is the best and opposition can’t do anything.

    Mod: This author is Gilbert Tan, bot that Gilbert Goh. Wrong tree.

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  • Sack The Million$ Minister:

    We paid the Minister in charge millions of dollars salary and yet a simple job and he cannot delegate his staff to do properly. I wonder what is he actually doing ?

    It is not a difficult job to do. Use Data Analytics system to extract the top 100 companies by no of staff etc and list out those companies that are making profits from the IRAS information. It will probably take at the most 5 days to get the information.

    This is taxpayer money. How can the Minister be so irresponsible to anyhow gave away to those rich companies ?

    PM Lee please do not let these Ministers go on Auto Pilot becos they will just (as the Army say) switch off. Its time you have to take action or else Singapore will go down the drain.

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  • Jman:

    @ Gilbert,

    When you wrote this, were you aware that there are a number of large corporations that have been advised by lawyers not to accept these JSS payments if these corporations have intention to retrench the Singaporean workers? The very workers’ salaries these JSS payments were intended to subsidise in the hope they would keep their jobs?

    Are you also aware that should these corporations retrench the abovementioned Singaporean workers, that the Govt has been silently comtemplating clawing back these JSS funds?

    Are you aware that you only see what you see, and hear what you hear in the public domain? And that there are quite a fair bit of undercurrents behind the public appearances?

    The Govt is trying to protect the jobs of Singaporeans. And these subsidies can only go so far. Outside of Circuit Breaker, these corporations still have to bear all the other employment expenses. And in the coming weeks, we are likely to see a tide of retrenchments hit a lot of unfortunate Singaporeans.

    So please don’t take everything at face value, and please stop speculating and making unjustified comments.

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  • Stop the nonsense:

    It is totally nonsensical to say that this wasteful payment is to stop Singaporeans from being retrenched. Utter rubbish.

    Take the billions wasted in profitable companies, and give them directly to the Singaporeans supposedly to be retrenched. They will be very happy to be retrenched millionaires.

    Jman:
    @ Gilbert,

    When you wrote this, were you aware that there are a number of large corporations that have been advised by lawyers not to accept these JSS payments if these corporations have intention to retrench the Singaporean workers? The very workers’ salaries these JSS payments were intended to subsidise in the hope they would keep their jobs?

    Are you also aware that should these corporations retrench the abovementioned Singaporean workers, that the Govt has been silently comtemplating clawing back these JSS funds?

    Are you aware that you only see what you see, and hear what you hear in the public domain? And that there are quite a fair bit of undercurrents behind the public appearances?

    The Govt is trying to protect the jobs of Singaporeans. And these subsidies can only go so far. Outside of Circuit Breaker, these corporations still have to bear all the other employment expenses. And in the coming weeks, we are likely to see a tide of retrenchments hit a lot of unfortunate Singaporeans.

    So please don’t take everything at face value, and please stop speculating and making unjustified comments.

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  • its time to care for sgs more:

    send home all those fts, prs and ltvp holders who are unemployed.
    SGs cant afford to go on feeding n supporting these leeches.
    money in our reserves is sacred. ..accumulated by us and our hardworking forefathers for 5 decades n more.
    spend it more on sgs who need it most.

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  • Uselesspap:

    there are quite a fair bit of undercurrents behind the public appearances?

    The Govt is trying to protect the jobs of Singaporeans. And these subsidies can only go so far. Outside of Circuit Breaker, these corporations still have to bear all the other employment expenses. And in the coming weeks, we are likely to see a tide of retrenchments hit a lot of unfortunate Singaporeans.

    So please don’t take everything at face
    ///

    Hahaha.
    Keep IMPORTING FTRASH TO SUPPLEMENT OUR WORKFORCE.
    everything face value ???

    TRY ” BUYING” THE PROPAGANDA STUPIDO

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