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Third Edition of Public Sector Progress Report Shows Government Making Headway in Reducing Income Inequality through More Opportunities and Stronger Social Support for Singaporeans

07 Aug 2014

Work-in-progress on improving productivity and public transport

The Ministry of Finance has released the third issue of the Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review (SPOR). The report takes stock of whole-of-government policies and progress in meeting key national social, economic and infrastructural objectives.

Key Findings from SPOR 2014

2. A key trend observed in SPOR 2014 is the steady increase in the real incomes of low- and middle-income Singaporeans over the past five years, both at the individual and household levels. Coupled with the strengthening of social safety nets and greater progressivity in government taxes and transfers, there has also been a narrowing of income inequality. The Government is additionally investing resources to help Singaporeans succeed through diverse educational and vocational routes.

3. SPOR 2014 noted that labour productivity growth has generally been weak in recent years. However, several industries like precision engineering and food manufacturing have seen a significant pick-up in productivity, especially among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

4. While crime rates fell to a record 30-year low in 2013, the Little India riot and the cyber attacks on government websites in end-2013 highlighted other risks faced by Singapore. The Government will be improving its policing capabilities and strengthening its cyber defences to deal with these risks.

Some Challenges Ahead

5. SPOR 2014 highlighted key challenges that continue to affect Singapore and Singaporeans, such as in public transport and healthcare capacity. On the dip in public transport satisfaction, Chief Executive of the Land Transport Authority, Mr Chew Hock Yong commented:

“We understand the frustrations of commuters and are working hard to bring about significant improvements to our train system as quickly as we can. We are working with the operators to increase capacity, improve train reliability and achieve higher service standards such as running trains more frequently. We thank Singaporeans for their patience and understanding while we work on improving our land transport system to serve their mobility needs even better.”

6. Other areas of concern indicated in the SPOR 2014 include the challenges of an ageing population, including the need for increased healthcare capacity and healthcare affordability.

7. Director from the Ageing Planning Office in the Ministry of Health, Mr Ong Yunn Shing, noted that the Government has adopted several measures to cater to the healthcare needs of an ageing population:

“We are stepping up efforts to prepare Singapore for our ageing population. We want to enable our seniors to age in place by promoting active ageing so that they can stay physically and mentally healthy, and stay independent in the community. We are also enhancing aged care services to take care of their healthcare needs; more general and community hospitals are being built; capacity in the long-term care sector is being ramped up; and the quality of care is being improved through care standards and guidelines. To keep healthcare affordable, we have enhanced our intermediate and long-term care subsidies, as well as our outpatient care subsidies. The Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life scheme will also support our efforts.”

8. The SPOR is prepared by the Ministry of Finance with inputs from all Ministries. Published once every two years, SPOR provides a perspective on how the public sector and Singapore have fared in a broad range of areas of national interest. The SPOR 2014 is available at