Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Average Singaporeans Getting The Shortest Straw?

If this is true, I really wonder what our Ministers and policy makers are smoking to believe that they are making the average Singaporeans' life better...

Future not so rosy for working-class S'poreans
Jun 04, 2007
The Straits Times

MANY Singaporeans must be celebrating at the moment, with the buoyant economy, high employment, higher salaries and, for private home owners, skyrocketing property prices and 'en bloc' frenzy.

However, is the current state of the economy and future as rosy as it appears for most working-class Singaporeans?

According to data published in a report on the wealthiest cities in the world by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on March 11, Singapore ranks 36th out of 70 cities based on gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005.

A look at the rankings will reveal that, apart from Singapore, all the cities in the bottom half are in Second and Third World countries.

Singapore's GDP of US$129 million (S$197 million) pales beside other Asian cities such as Tokyo (US$1.19 billion), Hong Kong (US$244 million), Seoul (US$218 million) and Shanghai (US$139 million). In fact, we are only slightly ahead of Mumbai (US$123 million).

These?rankings are arrived at by using purchasing-power- parity exchange rates.

However, unlike Singapore, our Asian counterparts in Hong Kong seem to have more to look forward to. The projections for city wealth in the year 2020 show that Hong Kong is likely to rise to 14th position, while Singapore is likely to decline to 40th.

The study (taking into consideration deduction of taxes and social-security contributions) reveals that net salaries in Asian cities such as Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul?and Taipei will surpass Singapore.

However, these sobering statistics apply only to the average Singaporean citizen. The top bracket of earners in professions such as medicine, law, banking and, of course, within the ranks of the Government, will earn as much, if not more, than some of their counterparts worldwide.

What do these figures tell Singaporeans? We can conclude that even though we pay a relatively low rate of?personal income tax, the net amount of wages we take home leaves us in the bottom half of the 70 cities in the PWC report.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

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