21 Dec 2003

Singapore's Unemployment Rate - Show Us the Money

According to reports at MOM the unemployment rate in Singapore (Q3) has climbed to a 17 year high of 5.9%. The powers that be are hoping that this will soon peak and then start declining in 2004.

However, after reports during the week in the Today newspaper that Singapore was letting its regional neighbours down in terms of receiving foreign investment, this optimism maybe mis-placed.

Yes, this is the epoch of globalisation, but regionalisation also plays a key role in the fortunes of all involved. Remember the collapse of the Thai currency in the late 1990's?

The article published by Forbes, called the current situation a crisis of plenty. For those at the top of course.

Estimate figures, "already estimated to exceed $100 billion in a nation of just over 3.3 million citizens, are set for a top up from a record current account surplus the country has in its balance of payments with the rest of the world." (see linked article above).

This excess may explain the current slump in investment in Singapore by foreign investors, but this money, so far, appears to simply be lying in an account somewhere, while the unemployment rate reaches all time highs, GST increases, etc...

I have some simple questions.

Why don't they invest the money that the population of Singapore created, into Singapore?

Or is it to be invested regionally, AGAIN?

Singapore is part of the South East Asia region and the international community has not viewed Singapore as a priority for investment. In order for Singapore to play its part in the region, surely investment has to happen either internally or externally. The external option has been refused.

So, the 5.9% of those Singaporeans must be roaring

"Show us the money..."

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