Tag Archive | "Singapore economy"

Minister Lim Hng Kiang to fly at Red Bull flugtag

Minister Lim Hng Kiang to fly at Red Bull flugtag

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Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang has confirmed that he will be the guest of honour of the Red Bull Flugtag at noon today. According to a statement from the ministry, the 58-year-old will be jumping off the ramp in a specially designed vehicle named “Singapore Economy”.

“We avoided a technical recession the last quarter and we’re determined to show that we’re still on track to achieve annual growth of 1.5% to 2.5% by the end of this year,” said MTI spokesperson Mohammad bin Anggu.

The vehicle is said to be modelled after a feather and is attached by a bungee cord to the previous vehicle named “Nervous Dragon”, a colossal gliding machine that has been the best performing vehicle for the past four years. The drive created by “Nervous Dragon” will provide some lift for Minister Lim, though the shape of the feather ensures that “Singapore Economy” will be able to float independently even with minimal support.

“Singapore Economy will probably experience a soft landing,” said aviation specialist Pang Puay Kee.

“Unlike the more modern machines, it is still driven largely by brute force and a tremendous amount of labour. The power created by the ‘jumpers’ on board will create a massive amount momentum initially, but this could also lead to the frame of the vehicle breaking due to an overload of people,” he said.

He also recommended revamping the human engine of the vehicle by cutting down the number of people on board, and limiting them only to those with a minimum level of skill so they don’t waste excessive energy doing on unproductive action.

But any change to the vehicle must be accompanied by a comprehensive plan to retrain unskilled jumpers, especially local ones which would create drag on the vehicle as they cannot be removed.

“We understand that there may be one unskilled Singaporean jumper for every ten, and not imposing a compulsory┬áminimum┬áskill set to be on board will lead to all 11 workers being needed on the vehicle. We also understand that by imposing the ‘minimum skill’ rule, and retraining that one unskilled Singaporean, we can reduce the overall population on the vehicle to just three. But these things take time, we’re not quite sure what works. So we’re taking our time to run around like headless chickens on the policy front until something smacks us in the face,”┬ásaid Anggu.

“In the meantime though, we are committed to growth. Our participation in the event shows our commitment to a bullish economy,” he said.

Singapore’s domestic economy is unsustainable, has low efficiency

Singapore’s domestic economy is unsustainable, has low efficiency

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Ho Kwon Ping, SMU’s board of trustees’ chairman, says liberal import of unskilled workers led to low wages and productivity.

The domestic economy cannot be sustained with cheap labour as more and more of them are needed just to keep pace with growth. Infrastructure such as our transport system simply cannot cope.

Singapore has a peculiar problem: We have a two-tiered economy that is not sustainable.

There is the high-productivity and skills-competitive economy, which includes manufacturing and financial services.

And then there is the low-efficiency, unsustainable domestic economy, which is defined as all the businesses catering to customers in Singapore. These include small and medium-sized enterprises dealing in retail, hospitality, construction and cleaning industries, and so on and so forth.

This sector’s low wages and low productivity is due to the liberal import of unskilled workers.

As a result, this relentless increase of such workers to satisfy the growing domestic economy has already outstripped the ability of transport and housing infrastructures to keep pace.

Ho Kwon Ping.

Look at what is happening to our public transport system now. Rough ride, you know.

Moreover, it is this low-efficiency domestic sector that requires restructuring the most: Wage increase coupled with rapid productivity will be game changers.

And this is where Professor Lim Chong Yah’s much talked about “Shock Therapy” can be applied, provided specific sectors are first identified.

Industry-specific measures and a high level of coordination are necessary for therapeutic effects to kick in, and wage increase must go hand-in-hand with rapid productivity without delays.

It shouldn’t become a chicken-and-egg issue to see whether productivity or increased wages come first to drive the other. They should work in tandem.

It is also disingenuous of Prof Lim’s critics to use scare tactics such as “scaring investors away” and “drastic economic decline” to reject his “Shock Therapy” proposals.

Critics of the plan should run their economic models and make their findings available.

The merits of the proposals can then be debated with coherent arguments that are grounded in data and reason.

This is a 60-second reduction of the original article published in The Straits Times on April 25, 2012.