Milk powder fund’s link to making babies?


Milk power fund

I refer to the article “$1.5 million fund for low-income parents to buy milk powder for children” (Straits Times, Feb 11).

It states that “As the prices of milk powder climbs, low-income families with young children will be given vouchers to ensure that their babies are adequately fed.

All five Community Development Councils and NTUC FairPrice Foundation have banded together to fund a $1.5 million milk scheme to support parents who may have difficulty purchasing milk powder for their toddlers, especially amid a sluggish economy.

Vouchers for 7,500 low-income families

About 7,500 low-income families will be given vouchers – $200 for children from six months to three years old, and $100 for kids aged four to six – under the new milk fund to buy milk powder at FairPrice outlets and Warehouse Club.”

Friends coffee shop talk? 

One of my friends said “wah yet another scheme to help poor Singaporeans – so good“.

Another friend said “so many people cannot even afford milk powder – no wonder so few people make babies lah“.

Another friend said “aiyah, all the news talk so often, talk so much about so many schemes to help poor people – all wayang lah – if help so good – is enough – then why now say need to come out with new milk powder scheme – slap own face lah – help so much until even no money for milk powder“.

Another friend said “world class country mah – Singapore – Swiss standard of living hor“.

Another friend said “classic example of inclusive prosperity hor“.

Procreation help schemes?

By the way, whatever happened to our much touted procreation incentives and help for families to have children? Help so much until now have to come up with this new milk powder scheme?

Household income so low?

In this connection, according to the Department of Statistics’ Household Income Trends 2015 published last year – the average monthly household income from work per household member was only $541 for the bottom decile of employed households.

Since it includes the employer CPF contribution, the income excluding employer CPF contribution may be about $458 ($541 less 18 per cent).

Excluding CPF – $366?

The take-home pay or disposable income may be about only $366 after the maximum 20 per cent employee CPF contribution ($458 less 20 per cent).

Household take-home pay $1,098?

So, can you imagine a family of three (couple with one child) trying to make ends meet with a monthly net take-home pay of only about $1,098 ($366 x 3 persons)?

Similarly, the computed net take-home household pay for the 11th-2oth, 21st-3oth, 31st-40th and 41st-50th percentiles were only about $2,115, $2,941, $3,778 and $4,625, respectively.

Lower income have more children?

Since every study has shown that the lower income generally tend to have more children than the higher income – is it any wonder why our total fertility rate (TFR) is so low and has fallen again?

Leong Sze Hian

P.S. You may also like to read “TFR drop: Why don’t make babies?” (Feb 11).

You may also like to come with your friends to attend the public forum on “Budget: Govt still not spending on CPF, HDB or healthcare” on 25 Feb 2-5 pm



About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.