The People’s Association (PA) has awarded the contract to Noel Gifts International to produce baby gift sets for parents with babies born last year and this year.
Noel Gifts International was also the vendor for the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift for Singaporean babies born in 2015.
In celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of independence two years ago, the Baby Jubilee Gift, worth about $200, was a small suitcase consisting of eight items – a medallion, a baby sling and a set of baby books.
According to tender documents seen by The Straits Times, 3,000 gift sets worth $50 each will be given out at community events in a pilot phase starting from this month, to celebrate babies born last year as well as this year.
ST reported that there will be three items in the gift set for babies aged between six to 24 months. The gifts are an “educational item” that encourages parents to spend time with their babies and help them learn through play activities, an “interactive item” that encourages parents to bond and communicate with kids, and a “memorabilia item” that represents the journey and growth of a family.
The authorities will ask for feedback this month and next month on which is the most popular item as there will be three versions of the gift sets given out during the pilot period.
PA will then produce up to 66,000 units to be distributed from July until March 2018 for other eligible parents.
Experts and parents stated that the move is appreciated by Singaporeans. However, they doubt that it would have an impact in encouraging couples to have children.
The amount of money spent on the move costs up to $3.45 million.
Sociologist Paulin Straughan said that some may see the initiative as a waste of money as it could have been used for better purposes. However, she said, “We buy gifts for each other at an individual level, so I see this as the government representing the community – with taxpayers’ money – to extend appreciation to parents.”
Mrs Joni Ong, the president of I Love Children, a voluntary welfare group advocating for early parenthood, said that the SG50 gift set was quite well-received.
“I think Noel Gifts won’t come up with items that are going to be just chucked away. I see the latest gift sets as a nice gesture from the government, a way of encouraging parents and saying ‘thank you for having that baby’,” she added.
Some parents told ST that they are quite delighted to have received the SG50 gift set. Pre-school teacher Ng Mingzhu, 32, whose daughter was born last May, stands to benefit from the latest gift set. “I hope the items would be practical, but I am thankful for the gift set anyway,” she said.
Housewife Khoo Hui Ing, 36, who has two children and a two-year-old, said that she used the baby clothes given by the government for the SG50 gift set for her two-year-old. “The set is quite useful, and it is good to have something memorable for the child to keep,” she said.