SINGAPORE: Singapore’s economic growth slowed significantly this year, as subdued external demand affected most sectors of the economy.
But findings from the Ministry of Finance’s second issue of the Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review (SPOR) showed that Singapore’s economic fundamentals remain strong.
The labour market is near full employment and job creation remains healthy.
Singapore continues to attract investments due to its stable business environment, a highly educated and skilled workforce, and good connections to the region and the world.
The Singapore economy is expected to grow by about 1.5 per cent in 2012.
Global economic growth is expected to remain sluggish in the near term, as governments and households in developed economies continue to rein in spending.
Consumer price inflation remained elevated in 2012, driven by higher car prices and imputed rental costs on owner—occupied homes.
Published once every two years, SPOR provides a perspective on how the public sector and Singapore have fared in six broad range of areas of national interest including growing incomes and fostering strong families and a cohesive society.
The review said immediate challenges remain but are being addressed. These include relieving pressure in public housing and transport infrastructure.
The report also pointed out that Singapore’s fertility rate had declined steeply over the past decade.
Currently at 1.2, it remains well below the replacement rate of 2.1.
The government notes that despite strenuous efforts to encourage family formation, the trend of marrying later and having fewer children is unlikely to reverse soon.
With immigration, Singapore’s population continues to expand, although more slowly now with the tightening of the immigration framework since 2009.
Turning to the public sector, the report notes that the public image of the civil service had been dented recently by some high profile cases of corruption, even though public sector cases formed only a small part of corruption—related cases brought before the courts.
Six out of 135 offenders charged in court in 2011 were public sector employees.
It sai the government’s swift and resolute response to these incidents demonstrates its resolve to uphold the highest standards of integrity in the public sector.
Public policy will also have to take into account a greater diversity of needs and interests as society evolves.
The current Our Singapore Conversation is an effort to involve many Singaporeans in gathering aspirations and hopes for Singapore’s future, and ideas on how we can achieve them together.
The report added that improving service delivery and strengthening public engagement are key priorities for the public sector. The volume of public feedback received by the government has also grown significantly over the years.
REACH has seen a three—fold increase in the feedback it has received over the past five years. In the first 11 months of 2012, this figure has already reached 64,000.
The report said this reflected the public’s desire for greater engagement with government on matters of public policy.
In fact, in a 2011 survey conducted by the former Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, 75 per cent of respondents felt that the government should always consult the public and consider their views when crafting policies.
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