Another load of rubbish from MTI

by Lin Yanqin and Wong Wei Han

SINGAPORE – If Singapore does not continue to allow for a “calibrated” inflow of immigrants and foreign workers, Singaporeans have to be prepared for little economic growth, limited real increases in wages, and insufficient manpower in the health and social services sectors to serve the Republic’s ageing population, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI) Occasional Paper on Population and the Economy released yesterday.
At a press conference, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang reiterated that, as the economic growth trajectory slows and the workforce ages and shrinks, Singapore has to complement the resident workforce with a calibrated rate of immigration and foreign worker inflow, even as it seeks to raise the productivity of businesses and encourage more residents to enter and stay in the workforce.
Without these three measures in tandem, the Republic would struggle to reach the economic growth target of 3 to 5 per cent in the years ahead, and keep the real wages of Singaporeans growing, he noted.
The National Population and Talent Division is putting together a White Paper on population policies, due out early next year. The MTI’s Occasional Paper seeks to provide Singaporeans with a clearer understanding of the trade-offs involved, when it comes to foreign manpower.
Mr Lim said: “In the end, this is a national conversation. If Singaporeans say ‘no, we are no longer interested in 3 to 5 per cent (growth), we want 1 per cent (growth)’, well, that’s the outcome of the exercise. We just have to be sure that everyone goes into it with a clear mind, that we understand the trade-off, and we are taking that trajectory.”
Observers TODAY spoke to noted that, while Singaporeans may see the rationale behind the economic arguments, other considerations could come into play.
For example, some Singaporeans may reject the necessity of having more foreign labour or immigrants because “they don’t necessarily enjoy the benefit of maintaining foreign workers, which can create wealth and help develop our economy,” said SIM University economist Randolph Tan.
“Instead they are penalised by the presence of foreigners due to increased property prices or job market competition,” he said.
National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan noted that it can be hard for individuals to “look beyond their personal unhappiness for the well-being for the nation”.
“The macro economic scenario is not easy for everyone to understand,” said Associate Professor Straughan. “So the way forward is about trust in the Government in that what they say is true, and they have to come down and woo the public.”
In the Occasional Paper, the MTI described the importance of the foreign workforce, pointing out that foreign manpower has helped Singapore restructure its economy to tap into emerging sectors where the necessary skills are not immediately available. It has also given Singapore the flexibility to respond quickly to economic opportunities when they come along.
Foreign manpower also help to “cushion Singaporeans from unemployment during downturns”, the paper added.
Moreover, given the improving educational profile and rising aspirations of Singaporeans, fewer Singaporeans will be willing to take up less-skilled jobs, and foreign workers can help meet the demand for labour in these sectors.
While there have been concerns about the presence of foreigners depressing wages, taking away jobs and even encroaching on space, Mr Lim noted that “it depends which sector you are talking about”. “What this paper tries to address is, instead of this generality that I am unhappy with foreign workers, well, talk about your sector. Which sector are you in, are you in the healthcare sector? Are you receiving services from the healthcare sector? Well, if you’ve got no foreign workers, be prepared to pay higher cost,” Mr Lim said.
The MTI paper also pointed out that a foreign workforce could help check consumer inflation in domestically-oriented sectors like retail and F&B, which economist Tan Khee Giap agreed was valid.
But the co-director of Asia Competitiveness Institute at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy also noted that, on the other hand, the cost of things like housing could go up as a result of a larger population in Singapore – partly fuelled by immigrants – driving up demand. “It comes back again to the question of coordination between ministries and stat boards to meet the needs of an expanded population, and whether policies are in place,” he said.

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Pro foreigner policies only work for jobs that locals do not want to do like construction industry etc and unless there is a level playing field for other jobs for PMETs, any kind of properganda will not work as we Singaporeans today are educated and could easily find other countries experiences to reference to, the Singapore Government can forget to try to spoon feed us to accept their draconic policies that only make Singaporeans suffer for their own benefits, nothing will work unless “YOU PUT SINGAPOREANS FIRST”.
I challenge the Government of Singapore if they are unable to ensure continued economic growth, then give up the running of Singapore and let others who can. We do not need incompetent persons getting the highest paid salaries in the world who cannot solve problems effectively.
– Contributed by Oogle. 

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Author: Gilbert Tan TS

IT expert with more than 20 years experience in Multiple OS, Security, Data & Internet , Interests include AI and Big Data, Internet and multimedia. An experienced Real Estate agent, Insurance agent, and a Futures trader. I am capable of finding any answers in the world you want as long as there are reports available online for me to do my own research to bring you closest to all the unsolved mysteries in this world, because I can find all the paths to the Truth, and what the Future holds. All I need is to observe, test and probe to research on anything I want, what you need to do will take months to achieve, all I need is a few hours.​

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