Saturday, February 26, 2011

Inflation, low fertility rate among issues raised at post-Budget dialogue

Channel News Asia Article:

Inflation, low fertility rate among issues raised at post-Budget dialogue
By Evelyn Choo | Posted: 26 February 2011 2142 hrs

SINGAPORE: Inflation, Singapore's low fertility rate, and entrepreneurship - these were some topics raised 
by youths at a post-Budget dialogue.

On the panel was Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan, who entertained the queries of a 

hundred PMETs, short for professionals, managers, executives and technicians, from Young NTUC and the 
Nanyang Business School.

Stanley Chia, Managing Director of Envisage and a student at Nanyang Business School, said: "Currently I'm 

on sabbatical, to start my own business. But I realised that during this process, where all my friends are seeking 
for internships, they're getting high-paying jobs. And it becomes a very conflicting thought in me, whether to 
continue my business or to look for a comfortable job."

The minister-in-charge of entrepreneurship said he hoped to see half of those present there start their own


But while there was government support, the onus is on them to stand out.

Mr Lee said: "As Singapore moves forward, we need our young people to come up with business 

models that can capture the imagination of the world."

On rising inflation, some asked if the one-off cash payouts would help them cope with the long-term 

effects of a rising Consumer Price Index.

Mr Lee responded: "The average family will get S$3,000. S$3,000 will cover many items that have

 their cost risen, if you are objective about it. And many food items, as I've seen for myself in FairPrice 
and Giant and so on, some food prices actually dropped."

Mr Lee added that the Singapore dollar was strong against the greenback.

"For all the commodities and food items we bought in US dollars, it has become cheaper or not as expensive.

 If you look at other countries, food prices have gone on to become quite high, five and six per cent and so on.
 So we are doing quite well."

Also raised at the dialogue, Singapore's low fertility rate.

Josephine Teo, Advisor to Young NTUC and Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC, said: "Although many of

 them are young, and either unmarried or not yet with children, they are concerned about Singapore's Total
 Fertility Rate. And there is a desire for the government to respond and to identity more effective measures
 that will help to reverse the trend. I think for me, this bodes well."

Those attending the dialogue were aged between 18 and 35 years old.


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