Friday, December 21, 2007

Increases

Prices of many essential items such as flour and oil have increased in the recent few weeks, leaving many Singaporeans concerned and worried.

Basic necessities asides, the price of petrol has also skyrocketed a little, leading to corresponding increases in the prices of petrol and inevitably higher taxi fares.

Prior to these increases, GST this year has increased from 5% to 7%, and with the recent increases of many items, prices of hawker fares have subsequently seen a hike.

All these increases this year may have put a strain on the pockets of the average Singaporeans, thus when the latest increases to top civil servants and ministers were announced, some Singaporeans lamented that it was not the most appropriate time for the increase.

I would not dwell on the link between top pay and top talent. I believe one shall have read the lengthy justifications made for these pay increases in the newspapers. To me, the salaries of the top civil servants are definitely high but these may be reasonable for the duties and responsibilities they hold, as compared to the ‘16th’ person in the median of the same profession ’.

What we see in Singapore is a growing chasm between the rich and the ‘not so rich’, with millionaires in Singapore being 66,000 and growing. However, looking at some of my less well-off colleagues who still have a comfortable asset, their homes, I believe the government’s policies of compulsory home ownership is working well.

Year 2008 is coming in just a week, there are telling signs of a slower economy next year. Singapore is betting on the IR, the Youth Olympics and the F1 to ride against these challenges, but can they endure against the constant vortex of change?

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