The PAP’s obsession with GDP growth

Following the publication of the Economic Strategies Committee report earlier this year, we were supposed to be restructuring our economy. Growth was supposed to be slower, and led by productivity gains, not manpower inputs. Yet, the other headline today directly contradicts this: “100,000 foreign workers needed: PM”.

After a drop of just 4,200 foreigner numbers last year due to the downturn, the PAP’s “open-the-floodgates” immigration policy is back with a vengeance. So much for all their promises of “moderating” the inflow of foreigners.

THIRTEEN to 15 per cent. That is the government’s latest projection of GDP growth rate for 2010. To the casual observer, this looks like fantastic news. It makes for a great pre-election fodder.

However, just like fodder, it may turn out to be inedible to humans. This kind of growth rate is not natural, not least for a supposedly developed economy like Singapore. Even China, with all the talk about its economy overheating, is not expected to have more than 10 per cent growth this year. The reality may bite for ordinary Singaporeans in a few months time: Inflation is likely to shoot up; the prices of everything, from utilities to food to transport will continue on their dramatic upward trend. Yet a recruiting firm managing director interviewed by TODAY warned that those who expect a much higher salary from their current job may be disappointed, because many hiring managers still peg their salary figures against last year’s rates. PM Lee himself said that “you don’t want it to happen too suddenly. You have to manage it (wage increases).”.

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