PM’s speech: Key takeaways

The Business Times
View From The Top
Published: 31 Aug 2015

What were, for you, the biggest takeaways from the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally speech this year? How would these impact your business?

EACH year, the government tries its best to address the various hot-button issues that Singapore faces as a nation.

While no revolutionary initiatives were introduced, there were some specific and practical changes to help with housing accessibility and affordability. One item that stood out was the enhancement of housing grants for both the low-income and middle-income segments: doubling of the amounts as well as adjusting the criteria so that more Singaporeans will be eligible. The raising of the HDB income ceiling from S$10,000 to S$12,000, and S$12,000 to S$14,000 for ECs, is a welcome and timely move, given the increase in income levels over the past few years.

I was happy to hear that the details of an Action Plan by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing will be unveiled soon, as we need to devise a long-term solution to the problem of our large ageing population.

The other side of this coin is babies, and it is important that measures have been introduced to help increase our local core, which is imperative for Singapore’s continued success, given the need to reduce our reliance on foreigners; in particular, the additional week of paternity leave (to be funded by the government), the extension of the Baby Bonus beyond the fourth child, and the increase in Medisave grants for newborns.

The rally this year focused more on enriching the roots of our society by touching on multi-racialism, education and national identity, in addition to population and housing issues. There was not much on the business or economic front except for confirmation that the re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67 by 2017. This is a positive move to help ease the manpower crunch that most businesses in Singapore are facing.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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