Singaporeans' incomes rose and inequality fell in 2019

Even as Singapore wrestles with the fallout from Covid-19, the Government has managed to boost incomes and reduce wealth inequality, while making sure necessities such as housing and healthcare remain affordable.

Singapore also continues to be business-friendly and internationally competitive.

These are among the key achievements of the public service up till 2019 in most cases, according to a new report released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Thursday.

Titled "Emerging Stronger as One", it highlights how Singaporeans, businesses and the community have stepped forward to partner the Government to help those in need.

Here are four key takeaways from the report: Lower income inequality, more work opportunities For the first time in five years, 2019 shows Singapore's Gini coefficient - a measure of income inequality - dipping below 0.4.

A Gini coefficient above 0.4 usually signals a large income gap.

After taking into account taxes and transfers, it fell from 0.452 in 2018 to 0.398 last year.

Competitive economy and workforce Singapore took the top spot among the world's most competitive economies, according to the World Economic Forum in 2019 and International Institute for Management Development in 2020.

Even amid the pandemic, the Economic Development Board secured $13 billion of fixed asset investment commitments in the first four months of 2020. This shows the confidence of businesses in Singapore, the report noted.

Pro-business environment and access to digital services The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index has consistently ranked Singapore among the top three economies to do business in.

This year, Singapore ranked second and did well in two other indicators - fourth in the world for starting a business and first in the world for enforcing contracts.

It takes just one-and-a-half days to start a business in Singapore. Businesses have also been able to innovate by using regulatory sandboxes and with faster approvals from the authorities.

Slowing growth and employment due to Covid-19 Despite Singapore's strong fundamentals, Covid-19 has put a dent in its economy. Real GDP growth rate is expected to contract by 6 to 6.5 per cent this year.

But there remain pockets of resilience such as biomedical manufacturing, and information and communications and media, said the report.

The labour market continues to face downward pressure, with the resident unemployment rate reaching 4.7 per cent in September.

The Straits Times


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