Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 02/22/2013 03:54 | By Channel NewsAsia

Good jobs, wages among issues raised ahead of Budget

Good jobs, wages among issues raised ahead of Budget

Good jobs, wages among issues raised ahead of Budget

SINGAPORE: Good jobs and wages were among issues raised by Singaporeans in a Pre—Budget 2013 Feedback Exercise.

Contributors to REACH, the government Feedback Unit, said they hope to see that they remain employed with good jobs and that their wages keep pace with the rising cost of living.

The feedback exercise to seek views on what Singaporeans wish to see in the upcoming Budget 2013 was conducted from 3 December 2012 to 8 February 2013.

Over 1,300 suggestions were received from various REACH platforms, such as the online discussion forum, online feedback form, REACH Facebook Page, and email.

A face—to—face dialogue was held on 29 November 2012 with 140 members of the public, youths, working adults, as well as representatives from the business, union, and grassroots communities.

The top three topics received were: employment issues which made up 22 per cent of the feedback; transport, which was expressed in 18 per cent of the inputs; and housing, which took up 11 per cent of issues raised.

On the issue of jobs, REACH said many called for less reliance on foreign labour and further tightening of foreign employment.

They suggested providing more re—training programmes to help local workers stay relevant, and granting training incentives to attract locals into blue—collar jobs such as bus drivers and crane operators.

Contributors also called for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take the lead in improving productivity and to revamp their workflow to rely less on foreign labour.

There were also calls for the government to provide more support to ease these companies’ overheads, such as rental subsidies and tax incentives.

Turning to transport, REACH said contributors urged public transport operators to look into cost—cutting measures to prevent fare increases in the future. They also called for more effort to be put into improving public transport services.

They expressed hopes that a more efficient public transport system would be an alternative to owning cars.

On housing, the issue of affordability remained a concern among contributors as they urged more efforts to keep prices in check.

Contributors called for measures to curb investments in the property market, and to tighten the rules on subletting of public housing by permanent residents.

REACH chairman, Dr Amy Khor, said: "I am encouraged by the wealth of views and suggestions received during the Pre—Budget Feedback Exercise.

"Singaporeans have conveyed their hopes and concerns on issues that affect their daily lives.

"I encourage all Singaporeans to share your thoughts with us so that we can continue to improve our policies for the benefit of Singaporeans."

REACH said that after the Budget Statement is delivered on Monday, it will conduct a feedback exercise to seek the public’s views on the Budget.

There will be a public forum on 28 February and a live chat on the REACH Facebook Page on 3 March.

— CNA/ir

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