National day is just around the corner!
And with that, comes the annual National Day Parade (NDP) with dazzling fireworks, aerial displays and the famous Red Lions.
But of course, holding such a large-scale event costs us money.
How much you ask?
Let’s find out!
TL;DR: How Much Does the Annual NDP cost?
- Although official figures for recent years are not available, the cost for this year’s NDP is roughly $19.7 million based on previous data of NDPs held at The Float
- NDPs are important for Singaporeans to show our unity and execute events on a nationwide scale
- National day parade cost over the years
- Why do we need to hold the NDP every year?
- Can we really afford the NDP?
National Day Parade Cost Over The Years
|NDP 2022||The Float @ Marina Bay||~$19.7 million (held at the same venue, The Float @ Marina Bay again)|
|NDP 2021||The Float @ Marina Bay||~$19.7 million (held at the same venue, The Float @ Marina Bay again)|
|NDP 2020||Decentralised||~$13.1 million (indoor show, one third less than what it usually costs)|
|NDP 2019||Padang||~$24.7 million (every time we go back to the Padang, there's usually a ~$5 million increase looking at 04 to 05, and 09 to 10; the 2015 NDP is a statistical outlier)|
|NDP 2018||The Float @ Marina Bay||~$19.7 million (held at the same venue, The Float @ Marina Bay again)|
|NDP 2017||The Float @ Marina Bay||~$19.7 million (held at The Float @ Marina Bay, 2016 was double the price of 2017 NDP due to National Stadium rental)|
|NDP 2016||National Stadium||$39.4 million|
|NDP 2015 (SG50)||Padang||$40.5 million|
|NDP 2011||The Float @ Marina Bay||$17.15 million|
|NDP 2010||Padang||$20.6 million|
|NDP 2009||The Float @ Marina Bay||$15.4 million|
|NDP 2008||The Float @ Marina Bay||$14.2 million|
|NDP 2007||The Float @ Marina Bay||$13.75 million|
|NDP 2006||National Stadium||$7 million|
|NDP 2005||Padang||$10.3 million|
|NDP 2004||National Stadium||$5.43 million|
|NDP 2003||National Stadium||$6.25 million|
|NDP 2002||National Stadium||$5.56 million|
Thanks to questions asked during Parliament and announcements on the news, we’re able to get a good sense of what the costs are like.
However, we only have official information 2002 to 2016, so anything from 2017 onwards are based on our estimations and other news sources. These costs also do not account for inflation.
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Why Do We Need to Hold the NDP Every Year?
Before we start saying that we are just “shooting taxpayers’ money into the sky”, let’s take a look at the whole purpose of the NDP.
As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared in his National Day message,
“In good years, our parades rejoice in our progress and look forward to a better future together.”
“In difficult years, we still hold National Day Parades, to renew our resolve to weather the storm and take Singapore through to better days.”
Apart from celebrating our nation’s birthday, the NDP is also a testament to how far we have come, and a display of our defence capabilities.
Moreover, it’s a unique opportunity for the SAF, Home Team, as well as other government agencies to come together and execute what is, arguably, the cheem-est (Hokkien: most complex) government operation every year.
The NDP hence serves as a validation that Singapore is able to deliver and get things done well.
Can We Really Afford the NDP?
There are many out there who believe that the funds used for NDP could be directed elsewhere, especially since we have the pandemic to deal with and the recent posting of MAS having a $7.4B net loss in FY2021/22.
But let’s take a step back and look at our inaugural NDP in 1966.
As a nation just starting out, we would have barely been able to afford it then since the money could arguably be put for better use.
However, fast forward to today, we’re still standing strong, aren’t we?
We’ve also held the NDP every year despite major setbacks such as the:
- 1988 Asian Financial Crisis
- 2003 SARS outbreak
- 2008 Global Financial Crisis
- And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
For context, the total cost of NDP from 2002 to 2022, a span of 21 years is still lesser than that of what we spent on the Youth Olympic Games ($387 million).