Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
100,000 more foreign workers needed: PM Lee
I think that PM Lee should explain the meaning of 'overheating'- less I assume that the only thing that's really getting 'overheated' is the PM's salary. 100,000 more foreign workers needed: PM Lee
By Angela Lim – July 15th, 2010
Fuelled by the record growth the government is forecasting for the economy this year, more than 100,000 foreigners are set to enter Singapore’s workforce, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told The Straits Times.
PM Lee said the move was unavoidable as the labour market here is bursting at its seams.
“If we don’t allow the foreign workers in, you are going to have overheating,” he said. However, he assured Singaporeans that the government is managing the number, saying the calibration of foreign workers will moderate the inflow.
Mr Lee added, “Even with that, I imagine there will be more than 100,000 extra foreign workers this year. I cannot see it otherwise. But we have to accept that.”
This projected inflow is a slowdown, however, compared to the surge of 144,500 in 2007 and 157,000 in 2008.
Higher levy rates and a tiered system that came into effect at the start of this month makes it increasingly costly to employ many semi-skilled foreign workers. This allows employers time to adjust and invest in improving productivity.
Leong Wai Ho, an economist with Barclays Capital Investment Bank, does not think the inflow is excessive. “The addition of 100,000 probably reflects more discriminate and careful use of foreign workers, not that the levies have gone up,” he said.
Economists like Mr Leong see many foreign workers moving to fill spots in the hotel plus food and beverage sectors, as well as high-end industries such as electronics and marine, where demand for semi-skilled S-pass holders is high.
The hospitality sector in particular is in need of workers following the opening of the two new integrated resorts and a sudden increase in the number of tourists landing on Singapore shores.
In February, the government, in a bid to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign workers, said it would limit the numbers to one-third of the workforce which currently stands around three million. The total foreign population in the workforce came up to around one million last year.
Mr Teo Siong Seng, president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry which has some 4,000 members, supports the policies to cut reliance on foreign workers.
“A more controlled inflow of foreign workers will benefit the country,” he said.
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong also stressed the importance of a productivity-driven economy for sustainable growth in the next ten years. “In the short term, we would need to tap on more foreign workers to support economic growth… while maintaining the longer-term goal of reducing over-reliance on foreign workers through investments in productivity,” Mr Gan explained.
While many Singaporeans workers are concerned about the inflow, Labour MP Josephine Teo feels that companies facing a shortage of workers may find the increase in foreign workers “a welcome relief”.
Singapore’s economy continues on its way to chalking up two records this year: the highest growth in the country’s history and fastest recovery in Asia. This puts the country’s economy ahead of the pack, even beating global powerhouses India and China.
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