Ms Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry how will the Ministry mitigate the overall increase in costs of living so that it does not negate the wage increments for low-wage workers.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong
1. The Government adopts a multi-pronged approach to manage cost of living pressures faced by Singaporeans, including low-wage workers.
2. First, the Government aims to keep the economy competitive to ensure that companies continue to create good jobs with sustained income growth. As companies are better able to sustain real wage increases if productivity improves, the Government has put in place schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant to help companies raise their productivity.
3. Second, the Government promotes competition in markets and lowers barriers to entry where possible to ensure that Singaporeans enjoy competitive prices. For instance, we have diversified our sources of supply, including for food, in order to prevent sharp price increases whenever there are disruptions to our supply from any particular source.
4. Third, the Government strives to moderate business cost increases by managing domestic supply-side constraints. For example, the Government ensures an adequate supply of industrial and commercial space to meet rising demand, which helps to relieve the price and rental cost pressures faced by businesses. This in turn helps to moderate the cost increases for consumers.
5. The Government will continue to monitor cost of living trends closely,and adjust its policies if necessary. Assistance such as through ComCare will continue to be provided to low-income and vulnerable Singaporeans who need help with their daily living expenses.