Sunday, January 1, 2012

S'pore's economy to grow 1-3% in 2012

SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy is expected to grow by one to three per cent in 2012, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his New Year message yesterday.

Mr Lee explained that as a small, open country, Singapore will inevitably be affected by the debt problems in Europe as the external environment is uncertain and 2012 looks to be a difficult year for the global economy.

In 2011, Singapore achieved a 4.8 per cent economic growth.

The prime minister also highlighted that the tightening inflow of foreign workers will also slow economic growth.

"Admitting fewer foreign workers also means forgoing business opportunities and accepting slower growth," said Mr Lee. Adding that, Singaporeans must raise productivity, "to make up in quality what we will miss in quantity".

However, Mr Lee said: "Overall, we have every reason to be confident and optimistic."

"Amidst this flux, we need to be confident of our position, and clear about our priorities and plans to build a better Singapore," he emphasised.

The government is working hard to tackle the immediate challenges and the long-term issues to improve Singaporeans' lives.

Among pressing issues, the government is committed to keeping homes affordable to all Singaporeans. In 2012, PM said that there will be another 25,000 new launches of BTO flats.

The government will also redouble efforts to improve the public transport system and expand the train and bus network. He said that more MRT lines are on the way and bus services will be enhanced to improve the daily commuting experience.

In the long run, the prime minister pledged to keep healthcare affordable and accessible, enhance the education system and uphold inclusive growth and social mobility.

Mr Lee noted that population is a "particularly complex and critical challenge," which will be discussed over the year, so that Singaporeans can better understand what is at stake and what choices we must make as a nation.

"I am confident that in a changing world, we will continue to bond as one people and walk shoulder to shoulder into a brighter tomorrow," said Mr Lee, as he wished Singaporeans a happy new year.

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