Law Minister K.Shnmugam on Wednesday night said Singapore, faced with a low replacement rate and a fast-ageing population, risks becoming in future the slowest growing country in the world’s fastest growing region, reported the Straits Times (www.straitstimes.com).
Speaking to some 300 students at the Singapore Management University Ministerial Forum, he painted a stark picture of how demographic trends combined with rising costs and external competition could cause Singapore to fall behind its neighbours in Asean.
“All our neighbours will be growing faster and we will be growing slowly,” he said. “When you look for jobs, and in neighbouring countries, salaries are rising much faster, then the best and the brightest will gravitate out, and whoever is left behind simply can’t compete internationally, and your economy is dragged down.”
This, he said, could have implications on how the country supports its growing number of retirees. Citing statistics to back up his point, he said that by 2030, each retired person will be supported by just two working adults, down from the current six.