Alternative news in 1 day? (part 66) – 0 productivity growth?

I refer to the article “$ The Budget add me: Schemes help SMEs stay competitive” (Straits Times, Feb 21).

PIC helped SMEs?

It states that “The scheme (Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC)) was introduced in Budget 2010 and enhanced in the Budget last year.”

0 productivity growth last year?

On the same day, the article “Zero productivity growth last year” (Straits Times, Feb 21) said “While the figures from the quarterly Economic Survey of Singapore will disappoint policymakers, they are an improvement on 2012, when productivity shrank 2 per cent from 2011.”

Shrank 2.6 or 2%?

In fact, productivity shrank by 2.6% (according to the Monthly Digest of Statistics January 2014) and not 2% in 2012.

Grew 1.28 or 1.6%?

As to “The MTI study showed that labour productivity grew by an average of 1.6 per cent each year between 2008 and 2013, higher than the 1.1 per cent in the preceding five years”

– according to the Department of Statistics’ (DOS) Yearbook of Statistics 2013 – labour productivity grew by an average of 1.28% each year between 2008 and 2013, and not 1.6% (0 (zero growth), -2.6, 1.3, 11.1 and -3.4 for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 respectively).

Much lower compared to before 2001?

Moreover, productivity for the preceding 5 and 10 years, is very much lower than the productivity growth of 3.3% from 1991 to 2000 (“Feature Article: Productivity and Wage Growth in Singapore” on MTI’s web site).

Wage growth lagging productivity growth?

What is even more significant is that real wage growth at 1.3% has lagged behind productivity growth of 1.8% from 2000 to 2010.

In contrast, real wage growth was 5.4% – much higher than productivity growth of 3.3%, from 1991 to 2000.

Not stating the obvious?

So, have we arguably omitted to state the obvious – very significant fact – so, what about the consistent rhetoric in recent years that real wages can only grow if we have productivity growth?

Dropped to 150th Press Freedom ranking? 

If this is the best kind of example that we can come up with, to promulgate the propaganda that the previous Budgets’ measures have helped Singaporeans in a big way in productivity growth – is it any wonder that our Press Freedom ranking has just dropped another notch to 150th?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the 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), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.