On 6 January (Monday), The Minister of State for Manpower, Zaqy Mohamad told the parliament that the blueprint implemented by the government has boosted total employment in 23 key industries by 19,500 between 2015 and 2018.

This increase in total employment comprised of the increases in employment of Singaporeans and permanent residents by 39,300 and 8,600 respectively. Mr Zaqy further stated that the employment of foreigners also dropped by 28,500.

Mr Zaqy was responding to the query made by Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) regarding the policy blueprint and the newly created job figures in each industry  that were filled by foreigners, permanent residents and Singaporeans. The blueprint, known as the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), was introduced progressively in late 2016 but the bulk of the blueprint was implemented in 2018.

However, TOC notes that based on the population white paper 2019, a target of 30,000 new permanent residents and 20,000 new citizens has been set. Just in 2018, 22,550 individuals were granted Singapore Citizenship (SC) and 32,710 individuals were granted PR.

According to Mr Zaqy, assessing employment outcomes from the medium and long term perspectives is more meaningful because changes in workforce profile are influenced by numerous factors that are cyclical or structural in nature.

In the country, training participation rate of resident labour force between the ages of 15 and 64 increased from 35 per cent to 48 per cent, and this shows that Singaporeans have always tried to stay relevant by regularly updating their job skills, Mr Zaqy further added. In addition to this, Mr Zaqy highlighted that around 93,000 locals successfully found new employment as a result of the Adapt and Grow initiative implemented from 2016 to September 2019.

Answering to the query by labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) regarding the review conducted by the Manpower Ministry on stubborn firms that disobey the Fair Consideration Framework, Mr Zaqy mentioned that there will be announcements regarding it next week.

Between 2008 and 2018, Singapore’s productivity performance was as good as if not better than most of the advanced economies in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to Chan Chun Sing, the Minister for Trade and Industry.

The Total Factor Productivity (TFP) is a measure of economic innovation and efficiency. The country’s TFP increased 0.5 per cent per year or 12 per cent of the 4.5 per cent rate of economic growth between 2008 and 2018. This figure is similar to those of the USA and Germany but higher than France.

In response to the query by WP Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera regarding the contribution of TFP to Singapore’s economic growth for the past decade, Mr Chan said that productivity growth has been on the rise in recent years. Since 2016, productivity had increased to 27% of economic growth or to 0.9 per cent per annum. This rise in productivity can be attributed to the upskilling initiatives and the economic restructuring efforts, Mr Chan added.

Mr Chan further stated that in order to boost productivity more, the country is aware that the results from research and development (R&D) must be translated into practical application within commercial enterprises and not just R&D for the sake of it.

Responding to further queries from Mr Perera, Mr Chan stressed that continuous training must be ingrained into Singapore’s DNA. This will allow workers to “get into lifelong employability and not lifelong employment”. On 18 February, employment policies will be unveiled alongside the Budget 2020.

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