Monday, December 11, 2006

A Challenge to the Government

The bid for the 2nd integrated resort is finally over. This 2nd resort was said to be able to generate 30,000 jobs, add 2.7 billion or 0.8% to the economy per year. With all these positive factors, the government can be expected to reward its ministers with a handsome pay rise very soon.

I would like to throw a challenge at the government before it helps its million-dollar ministers realize their dreams of becoming billionaires. That it should reduce the % of households with a deficit in their monthly income-expenditure from 40% to 10% before granting the pay rise.

Two surveys by the Dept. of Statistics, Household Expenditure Survey 2003 and General Household Survey 2005, showed that 40% of Singapore households not only had declining incomes but were also unable to pay their monthly bills! This is an extremely troubling phenomenon considering we are supposed to be living in a 1st world.

Least that the government talks up the economic spin-off from the integrated resorts as a silver bullet to all our economic woes, it should be noted that the two surveys also revealed that since the millennium economic growth had not automatically lead to broad prosperity. Economic growth had only benefitted 20% of the work force. The remaining 80% either didn’t benefit at all or had their modest gains eaten up by rising prices.

A 1st world government would definitely not feel proud to govern a country where almost half of the households are unable to make ends meet!