Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how does the Government ensure that the land cost to be paid by the existing integrated resort (IR) operators is fair without calling for a public tender; (b) what is the estimated increase in tax revenue that both IRs are expected to generate with the additional investment; (c) whether the increase in tax revenue will be able to support the increased health care needs of Singaporeans; and (d) whether the increase in casino entry fees can be channelled to meet the increased health care needs of Singaporeans.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how much land has been allocated for the proposed expansion of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS); (b) how much will MBS and RWS be paying for the land; and (c) how much additional land cost will each have to pay for the expansion of the gaming areas of the casinos.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat)
1. The S$9 billion investment by the two integrated resorts (IRs) will introduce additional world class attractions and experiences for both tourists and locals. These are expected to attract an additional 500,000 international visitors each year and contribute S$500 million annually to Singapore’s economy. The investments will also create up to 5,000 new jobs directly, and increase business opportunities for Singapore companies.
2. When there are substantial investments that can benefit our economy and workers, the Government is open to directly allocate land to these investors. This is a longstanding policy that has been extended to both local and foreign companies across different industries. The IRs will pay fair market value for their land, as determined by the Chief Valuer in accordance with market conditions and established valuation principles.
3. The expansion site for Marina Bay Sands is 3.3 hectares, at a cost of $1.3 billion. Resorts World Sentosa has set aside a budget of $1 billion to intensify the use of existing land and purchase around 1 hectare of new land.
4. If the IRs choose to activate their options for additional gaming area, they will have to pay additional costs for these areas. The amount payable will be determined by the Chief Valuer based on prevailing market conditions when the option is exercised.
5. Mr Gan also asked about funding for healthcare needs. As the Minister for Finance explained at Budget 2018 and Budget 2019, Singapore’s healthcare spending will rise with an ageing population and advances in medical treatment, drugs and technologies. We need to be well-prepared for this, by building additional healthcare capacity and ensuring that we have sufficient financial resources to fund the higher healthcare spending in a sustainable manner.
6. This will require a structural increase in our operating revenue. Our revenue base is diverse and resilient, including taxes on personal and corporate income, consumption and property. The tax revenue from the two IRs are one of the many sources of overall tax revenue.
7. The diverse sources of revenue is supported by a diversified economy. As we continue to grow Singapore’s economy, we will adopt a multi-pronged strategy, with many different sectors and trading partners.