Grace Fu: Government committed to slowing down population growth

SINGAPORE — The Government has embarked on a new “strategic direction” in its population policies to bring about a slower and more sustainable pace of population growth as committed to in the Population White Paper, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu today (March 5).

“Our goal is that Singapore continues to be an endearing home and a good place for Singaporeans to live, work and play,” she said during the Prime Minister’s Office Committee of Supply debate.

Citing statistics released in the annual Population in Brief report last year, Ms Fu said Singapore’s population grew by just 1.6 per cent last year, its slowest pace in the last 10 years and almost half the average rate of 3.1 per cent from 2004 to 2012.

The citizen population grew at a pace of 0.9 per cent to 3.31 million through births and immigration. The total fertility rate was 1.19 — with 31,000 Singaporean babies born last year — still below the replacement rate of 2.1.

“This was fewer than in the 2012 ‘Dragon Year’, but more than in the 2011 – the ‘Rabbit Year’,” said Ms Fu.

Ms Fu also revealed that growth in the foreign workforce in the non-construction sector was halved from 7.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent last year in line with the Government’s tightening of foreign manpower policies. The bulk of foreign worker growth was in the construction sector — which grew by 25,000 last year — to speed up major infrastructure projects in housing and transport.

About 30,000 Permanent Residences were granted last year to “mitigate the shrinking and ageing of our citizen population”, keeping the Permanent Resident population stable at about half a million for the last five years.

Another 20,000 people were granted citizenship. “These (new citizens) were assessed to be to be able to contribute and integrate well into our society,” said Ms Fu.

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