Singapore's productivity rates in 2012 have not been very positive: Tan Chuan Jin
Singapore's productivity rates in 2012 have not been very positive says Acting Manpower Minister, Tan Chuan Jin.
This is because employment has grown much faster than GDP over the period.
Replying to a question in Parliament, he explained that Singapore's target of 2 to 3% productivity growth per annum is a stretched target, as most developed economies achieve an average of 1 to 2% productivity growth per annum.
But if Singapore's able to hit the upper end of this range over the long term, the country will be in a good position to achieve higher wages for all Singaporeans and remain competitive at the same time.
Hence the need to press on with efforts to restructure the economy.
Mr Tan said companies need to reduce their reliance on manpower, and workers need to continue upgrading themselves so that they can take on the higher value-added jobs created.
Singapore must also persist in the gradual tightening of the foreign worker policy.
"While we focus on implementing the various sectoral productivity strategies well, we are also mindful not to lose sight of the reason why we are embarking on this productivity drive in the first place. At the end of the day, what we want to achieve is better incomes and better living standards for all Singaporeans in a sustainable way. And we believe that increasing productivity is the right way to do so, without jeopardising Singapore's competitiveness and our workers' livelihood. Data has shown that this is the right strategy, as the real wages of our workers have risen broadly in line with productivity improvements over the long term."
The Acting Manpower Minister adds that Singapore has committed significant resources to the productivity drive, and there are numerous Government support schemes available for companies to tap on.
But one common feedback from companies is that because of the large number of productivity schemes available, it is not easy for them to navigate through all of them and determine which scheme suits them best.
"This is a challenge that we need to address. The best designed schemes with the best intentions are not very helpful if no one makes use of them."
Therefore, the government's working to improve the accessibility of productivity schemes so that companies can tap on the help more effectively.
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