Updated: 02/01/2013 02:52

Major shift in economic gears in Population White Paper: DPM Teo

Major shift in economic gears in Population White Paper: DPM Teo

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean says the White Paper on Population represents a major shift in the way the country grows its labour force. 

He was speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the Home Team Tactical Centre today. 

Acknowledging concerns among citizens about the projected population growth to 6.9 million by 2030, Mr Teo, who's also Minister-in-Charge of Population policies said the White Paper in fact focuses on the interests and benefits of Singaporeans. 

He explained that the government had actually worked out two scenarios and struck a balance between the two. 

The first scenario, is to freeze at where Singapore is today - that means the workforce will shrink sharply as the population ages. 

At the other extreme - continue what's been done for the past 30 years. 

That is, grow the workforce at about 3.3 per cent a year. 

This, Mr Teo said will put very serious constraints on the country. 

The decision he said was to go midway - half the workforce growth rate, up to 2020 and beyond that, bring it down further to 1 per cent.

That's one-third of the labour force growth rate today.

"So indeed, we are not going to grow as fast as we used to. Over the last 30 years, growth has typically been in the 6-7% range. Going ahead, we will see growth come down to about 3% up to 2020, but high quality growth, and beyond that 2020 to 2030, we will see 2-3% growth. So it is a very different growth pattern compared to previous years. And what we are looking for then, is high quality, productivity-driven growth which will bring good lives, good jobs to Singaporeans." 

At the same time he said, Singapore would need a complementary group of workers to fill lower-skilled jobs and another group of foreigners who will help kickstart new industries to create jobs for young Singaporeans.

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