SINGAPORE: Three broad strategies by the Government to maintain a population profile in Singapore that “improves the lives of each generation” were outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday (May 9).
In the Prime Minister’s Office (Strategy Group) addendum to the President’s address, Mr Teo said the country is entering a new phase of nation building in a more complex landscape that will require policy responses to challenges that are “still emerging and therefore not yet well defined”.
“It will require Government agencies to work more closely together because solutions to policy challenges will increasingly cut across ministry domains,” the Minister-in-charge of the Strategy Group said.
One of these issues is the country’s population policy, and Mr Teo said the country’s changing demography has wide-ranging effects on many Government policies including the economy, healthcare, infrastructure, defence planning and social cohesion.
For instance, in the medium term, Singapore’s ageing population presents both challenges and opportunities to sustain a dynamic economy, he said.
“The slower growth of our local workforce provides a strong impetus to press on with economic restructuring,” the deputy prime minister explained. “In the long term, our fertility rates and our openness to others who are willing and able to contribute to Singapore will shape the type of society that future generations of Singaporeans will live in.”
As such, the Strategy Group will focus on three broad strategies: Develop and implement policies to enable all Singaporeans to age with purpose and dignity; make Singapore a great place for families where marriage and parenthood are achievable, enjoyable and celebrated; and maintain a careful balance in foreign worker as well as immigrant flows.
These policies, he said, will support a cohesive society and vibrant economy, and the country will continue to be a place “where Singaporeans are proud to call home”.
CLIMATE CHANGE MUST BE ADDRESSED
Another issue that cuts across ministries is climate change, the deputy prime minister highlighted.
“Singapore must address climate change and safeguard our collective future,” Mr Teo said.
“As a low-lying, tropical island state, we must develop plans to address the impact of climate change such as rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and more extreme rainfall patterns. At the same time, we need to work as part of the international community to reduce our collective carbon footprint.”
To tackle this issue, the minister said Singapore will fulfil its commitment to the Paris Agreement and implement the carbon tax, as well as work to reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases.
In fact, 2018 has been designated as the Year of Climate Action to raise awareness and intensify the national effort to bring down emissions and adopt sustainable practices, Mr Teo said.
Singapore had previously stated that it aims to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.