中文 |

Singapore's PM raised growth forecast

By : Xinhua | Published: 2013-August-9

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday that the country's economic growth is expected to be between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent this year, higher than the previous growth forecast of 1 percent to 3 percent.

In the first half of 2013, the economy grew by 2 percent.

Besides revealing the revised forecast in his national day message, Lee also touched on how the government has been responding to the long-term and short-term challenges that had featured most prominently since the general election in 2011.

The queues for public housing flats, built and sold by the Housing and Development Board, have been cleared and the build-to- order flat prices have stabilized, he said.

In terms of public transport, Lee said more buses have been added and Singapore is trying out free early morning rides into the city on its train network that carries a significant part of the commuters.

He said the government is also tackling longer-term issues, especially marriage, parenthood and population.

"We face difficult choices: We need foreign workers to serve our economy and Singaporeans' needs, and immigrants to make up for our shortfall of babies. But we also worry about crowding and congestion, and maintaining our Singaporean identity," he said.

"So we are feeling our way forward carefully, conscious both of our needs and our limits, and seeking the best outcome for Singaporeans," Lee added.

Singapore's total fertility rate has dropped to record lows of around 1.2 in recent years, but a white paper projecting that the country's population may grow to between 6.5 million and 6.9 million by 2030 led to reactions obviously stronger than the government had expected.

"The world is changing rapidly and unpredictably. Singapore is changing too. The economy is maturing and our population is aging. Different groups in society now have more diverse and even conflicting interests," Lee said. "Our road ahead will be different from the road we have traveled."

Lee said that his government is aspiring to build a country that gives its citizens opportunities to succeed and live fulfilling lives and that it will set goals and work out plans.

He said Singapore must stay ahead of the competition, and maintain its standing in the world.

The government will also play a bigger role to build a fair and just society, he said.

"We will keep avenues to rise wide open to all. We will help those from families with less get off to a good start in life, beginning from pre-school," the prime minister said.

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