Mr Speaker, Sir
The Singapore economy had another good
year. Overall growth was 8.9 per cent, with strong showing
in manufacturing, transport & communications and
commerce. This reflected the strength of the global
electronics cycle and buoyant regional growth. For the
period 1990-95, Singapore's economic growth averaged
8.5 per cent per annum, better than the other Asian
Newly Industrialised Economies and about the same as
Malaysia and Thailand.
The strong growth performance has led
to continued cost pressures. The Unit Labour Cost (ULC)
Index for the manufacturing sector rose by 0.9 per cent
in 1995. Our relative competitiveness in manufacturing
worsened in 1995. The Relative Unit Labour Cost Index
in US$ against the NIEs grew by 9.1 per cent. This was
due to the appreciation of the Singapore dollar and
larger increases in ULC against Hong Kong and Taiwan.
However, consumer price inflation moderated
because of the strong Singapore dollar, weaker sentiments
in the property and stock markets, and keen competition
in the retail industry.
The external economy continued to grow
in tandem with the domestic economy. Factor income from
abroad accounted for 12 per cent of GNP, compared with
11 per cent for 1994.
The good ecnonmic performance has meant
real progress for our citizens. In the last ten years,
per capita income increassed by 5.9 per cent per annum
in real terms. Real wages rose by 3.8 per cent per annum.
In 1995, 90 per cent of our households owned their own
homes, up from the 73 per cent in 1985. Singapore has
also made good progress in a wide range of socio-economic
Strong economic growth and sound public
finances have enabled the Government to enhance the
assets of citizens, by upgrading HDB flats, and selling
at a discount Singapore Telcom shares, HDB shops and