Hi Josephine, I noticed recently your statement in parliament from earlier in the year, that the government plans to increase the borrowing limit to support an extra 195 Billion dollars of debt issuance over the next few years. 20% of this borrowing, that is 39 Billion dollars, is allocated “to increase the efficiency and liquidity of Singapore’s debt market”.
I would like to respectfully ask how you can justify this? 39 Billion dollars is such a huge amount, ten times what we spent on healthcare last year. To borrow this much for such an intangible reason is very hard to accept. How much will this 39 Billion dollars of debt cost us in the long run, including interest payments and issuance fees? Do we really need to borrow this much because our debt market is not currently efficient or liquid enough? How efficient or liquid would you like it to be? How will greater liquidity in our debt market enhance the lives of ordinary Singaporeans? How do you plan to measure and quantify this liquidity to ensure that Singaporean’s get value for money on the 39 Billion dollars borrowed? Will the debt issued be callable / cancellable in the case that the liquidity of the market increases faster than expected?