Assure, Ensure, I’m Not So Sure

Star cancer geneticists Neal Copeland and Nancy Jenkins who arrived here in 2006, called it quits in 2011. Singapore can recruit but can’t retain. They and other researchers find Singapore stifling still whatever the National Research Foundation pulls out of its hat to have foreign brains drive our research industries.

The global economy with US and Europe  pulling everything down, is uninspiring. Singapore is small and our manufacturing and export-oriented economy would be knocked around and there is nothing our overpaid ministers can do.

However, our tax structure and burden is sustainable as there is no serious aging population and immigrants here contribute to direct and indirect tax. On people-centred growth and a skilled workforce, Singapore is expensive compared to the competition and bringing foreign skilled workers might keep labour cost down. However there is ever growing resentment towards foreigners in Singapore as there is the misconception that foreigners are stealing jobs from locals left, right and centre.

The year ahead in Singapore is as uncertain and shaky as the global economy and no amount of assurance by the new government can make us feel confident.


Govt to ensure economic growth
Long-term strategic plans to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth for Singapore. -myp
Reico Wong
Wed, Oct 12, 2011
my paper

Four government ministries and agencies unveiled their long-term strategic plans yesterday, following President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s opening address to the 12th Parliament on Monday.

At the forefront of their agenda was the common pledge to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth for Singapore.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday cautioned that headwinds from slower global growth, stemming from uncertainties in developed economies, will mean slower growth in Singapore in the next few years.

“We must steer a path that enables Singapore to respond to these challenges, transform the nation’s capabilities and help our citizens achieve higher standards of living,” he said.

Monetary Authority of Singapore

To remain vigilant against a resurgence of cost pressures, even as inflation is expected to moderate towards the year’s end.

To conduct regular stress tests on Singapore’s financial sector and work with other agencies to secure and strengthen overall financial stability.

Banks will be required to maintain prudent capital buffers, in line with and in addition to Basel III minimum requirements. The risk-based capital framework for insurance companies will also be enhanced.

To impose stronger safeguards in the sale of investment products to retail investors, and to step up financial-education efforts to help them make informed decisions.

To continue to deepen the talent pool to build strong and distinctive capabilities in the finance industry, which is expected to remain a key growth engine for the Singapore economy.

National Research Foundation

In the next five years, the NRF will seek to strengthen the considerable expertise in research and development to attract talent, generate intellectual property and enhance Singapore’s competitiveness in a globalised world.

The five Research Centres of Excellence will provide opportunities for some 800 PhD students to be trained. The NRF Fellowship Programme will enhance Singapore’s intellectual capital, with top young scientists – local and foreign – undertaking research in Singapore.

The Competitive Research Programme provides research grants to local researchers from universities and the industry.

The National Framework of Innovation and Entrepreneurship will help to translate the treasure trove of knowledge from tertiary and research institutions into applications and products to benefit Singapore’s economy and society.

Ministry of Finance

To maintain a sound and sustainable fiscal system, with a resilient revenue structure to meet higher spending needs in areas such as transport infrastructure and education.

To ensure that the overall burden of tax on Singaporeans remains low by global standards.

To keep the tax system progressive and ensure that government transfer schemes provide targeted and effective aid to lower- and middle-income households in need. It will also simplify tax administration and enhance tax certainty to continue to support Singapore’s pro-business environment.

To maintain a framework that enables the Government of Singapore Investment Corp and Temasek Holdings to pursue investment strategies that generate sustainable portfolio returns.

To support and catalyse efforts to raise skills and improve quality of jobs in every sector.

To encourage co-contributions from charitable individuals and companies through significant tax deductions, and matching grants for donations.

Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore

To focus on ensuring people-centred growth, by investing in equipping workers to take on higher-skilled jobs through training and upgrading.

To step up efforts to re-position Singapore’s economy towards value-added and more- productive sectors.

This includes expanding the range of offerings in the logistics and professional-services sector, and raising the standard of tourism offerings. Emerging clusters, such as clean technology and media, will be developed.

To review existing free-trade agreements to ensure their relevance and accessibility to small and medium-sized enterprises, and to continue to expand trade linkages with emerging markets.

To reinforce Singapore’s position as the gateway to Asia – the centre of dynamic growth now – and the best location for both the expansion and headquartering of global companies.


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