SINGAPORE investment fund GIC posted brighter returns on the nation's nest egg as the world economy kept growing and financial markets stayed robust. Over five years to March 31 this year, GIC's assets across the globe returned 12.4 per cent in US dollar terms - well above the 2.6 per cent for the five years to March 31 last year.

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If the GIC managed CPF funds as a separate pool, and not together with other government assets, the interest rates that the Government has committed to would be unsustainable, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Tuesday's CPF forum. Mr Tharman was responding to questions from blogger Roy Ngerng, who is being sued by the Prime Minister for defamation. Mr Ngerng fired off four questions and Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, answered them in turn. Here is an edited transcript of the exchange.

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How did Singapore become the envy of the world? In many ways, it did what competent governments are supposed to do. Quality public housing? Check. Top-notch public education? Check. An open, pro-business economy? Check. The city-state also continues to develop innovative approaches to challenges such as immigration, taxes and debt. Singaporean Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently sat down with Credit Suisse to explain how the country became the alpha male of the Asian Tigers and a global archetype of economic success.

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The Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) unveiled in 2013 was supposed to provide priority allocation to first-timer married couples with a citizen child below the age of 16 (including those expecting a child) for Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) flats to better meet their housing needs. Under the PPS, 30% of the BTO flat supply and 50% of the SBF flats will be set aside.

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Jake van der Kamp: Singaporeans not as wealthy as GDP figures suggest

We shall start by conceding the headline figures. Yes, as of the latest statistical releases, GDP at prevailing rates of exchange runs at an annual rate of about US$52,000 per person of the total population in Singapore and US$37,000 in Hong Kong, which puts Singapore about 40 per cent ahead, not just 25 per cent. The point about GDP, however, is that it is meant to be a measure of wealth.

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Former Ministry of Finance Director Dismisses Forbes Article

There is one argument from the article that is worth highlighting and which I mostly agree with. And that is booms which are led by real estate development and the financial sector are mostly illusory. They create the impression of economic dynamism without creating any real productive capacity in the economy (think back to Bangkok, KL and Jakarta just before the Asian crisis). They also distort and re-direct resources away from productive activities. Real estate and finance are inherently distributive, not creative, activities – they move money and wealth around, but they don’t lead to any productive capacity and technological capabilities for the economy.

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