10 Changes in 2017 You Need to Know if You’re a S’porean or You’ll Regret

As 2017 approaches, many of us have our New Year resolution ready to be executed. However, do we know about certain new implementations that we might have to include in our to-do-list in this New Year? Here are 10 changes to take note of if you are living in this sunny island.

1. Parking Coupons

Time to stock up on parking coupons for the new year! Stop by a petrol station, Cheers or 7-Eleven convenience store or the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Centre; the coupons are also sold at Housing Board Branches or Service Centres, except the Tampines branch.

Public parking charges were raised from 1 December 2016 and motorists have to display new parking coupons that reflect this increase. Short-term parking rates have gone from 50 cents to 60 cents per half hour and from $1 to $1.20 per half hour in restricted zones and designated areas. 

2. Active SG Credits

If your new year resolution includes keeping yourself fit and healthy, join ActiveSG! The nationwide sports campaign offers registered Singaporeans and permanent residents who are at least 12 years old admission to sporting facilities like swimming pools and gyms, as well as other programmes and activities. 

Sign up for the lifetime membership on “ActiveSG” smartphone app! Registration can also be done in person at any ActiveSG sports centre or swimming complex with your student pass, NRIC or birth certificate. Successfully registered members get $100 worth of credits for a limited time.

3. Electricity

For the first quarter of 2017, tariffs for household electricity usage will go up by 5.6% due to higher cost of natural gas. SP services announced on 30 December 2016 that the electricity tariff from January to March will be 20.20 cents per kwh, up from 19.13 cents now – the highest charge in more than a year.

With the increase, the average monthly electricity bill for families living in a four-room Housing Board flat is expected to rise by $4.30, from $76.88 to $81.18. Time to cut back on electricity!

4. SingPass 2FA

It was made compulsory to sign up for SingPass’s two-factor authentication (2FA) in July last year, with users given a 30-day grace period to complete their set-up upon their first login to SingPass. However, not everyone has signed up. Hence, there will no longer be a grace period for the set-up after 15th January. Do it while you can, you still have a few days more!

5. Road Tax Disc

Motorists will no longer have to display a road tax disc on their vehicles from Feb 15, 2017. The Land Transport Authority said in August that it will stop issuing the paper discs from Feb 15. After this, motorists will receive only a road tax payment notice when they renew their road tax. Road tax can be paid at AXS stations on top of existing payment channels from September 2016.

Yay to cleaner windscreen!

6. New NRIC

Time to apply for a new NRIC when you turn 55 or if you have not updated in the last 10 years. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in November that this measure is to improve identification of older NRIC holders. Letters will be mailed by ICA to those who are eligible a month before they turn 55.

You may register via the ICA website, submit the application form mailed to you, or apply in person at the ICA building beside Lavender MRT station. Put it as a priority if you have to apply for a new one!

7. 2G-only mobile phones

If you hold one of the 160,000 mobile lines in Singapore still based on the older 2G services (that’s surprisingly a lot, isn’t it?), you can upgrade your device with no additional subscription costs by April this year.

While sales of 2G-only mobile devices for use in Singapore has been banned from 1 January 2017, 2G networks will be retired by 1 April 2017. Given the speed of technology nowadays, I won’t be surprised that 3G will be discontinued soon!

8. NTUC FairPrice’s Pioneer Generation

Our Pioneer Generation will get to enjoy 3% discount at FairPrice supermarkets, FairPrice Finest outlets and FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets for another year. The discount, which currently applies only on Mondays, will be expanded to include Thursdays on 1 January and extended to 31 December 2017. This would be the third year that FairPrice has continued its pioneer generation discount scheme, so time to make good use of your Pioneer Generation cards today!

9. Refinancing your Mortgage

While interest rates are low, homeowners with the capacity to refinance their mortgages can consider reviewing their housing loan options. The rates seem to be rising on the back of the United States Federal Reserve’s December rate hike, which affects bank rates, bank savings accounts, mortgages, credit cards and vehicle loans in many countries including Singapore. Do consider your options carefully before you refinance your mortgage! 

10. Analogue Broadcasting 

Make sure your TV set is a digital one, because Singapore will pull the plug on analogue broadcasting by the end of 2017. This means those with analogue TV sets without the right equipment to receive digital TV will not be able to watch free-to-air TV channels. Viewers will need to buy and connect a digital set-top box and an indoor antenna to their existing TV sets to be able to watch. 

Look out for a label that indicates whether the TV set, or set-top box, is compliant with Singapore’s digital format issued by the Media Development Authority (MDA) if you are buying a new TV. A help scheme for low-income families is rolled out by MDA in 2014 to switch to digital TV.

For more information and to find out if your TV is digital-ready, go to www.imda.gov.sg/digitaltv.

Featured image: livinginsingapore.org

This article was first published on Goodyfeed.com

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Vanessa Ong

Vanessa Ong

An eighteen-year-old girl who is fond of words and the wonders of the world. Perpetually lost in her own thoughts, easily excitable and appreciates a great deal of humour.
Vanessa Ong