Not enough focus on fertility issues in Budget

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Cheng Choon Fei's views (Provide safety net for couples to raise birth rate; March 5).

Too little emphasis is being placed on raising fertility rates in our Budgets. In 2013, the healthcare and transport budgets were around $6 billion and $7 billion respectively, but only $2 billion was allocated to the Enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package.

Fertility is the most important factor in the survival of our nation.

Without children, there would be no next generation of Singaporeans in the workforce, to defend our country, and to support us when we grow old.

Expenditure expectations would skyrocket while revenue sources would shrink. Healthcare and eldercare costs would shoot up. Our Central Provident Fund savings would be eroded. We would be unable to retire. Our economy may face stagnation and even decline.

Immigration will not solve our problems because the loyalty of foreigners towards Singapore is not guaranteed. A mass emigration would cause our society to collapse.

Most Singaporeans would also be unhappy about a situation where foreigners outnumber locals.

The Government needs to get its priorities right, be more proactive and spend more to tackle the declining fertility rate.

Couples say that the inability to balance work with child-raising commitments is the biggest concern they have about having more children.

Imagine if more money were allocated and each family with children were given, say, $24,000 a year. This would allow one spouse to stop working and take care of the children full time.

This is an urgent matter. We can survive on lower healthcare subsidies or no new MRT lines, but we cannot survive without children.

Abel Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2018, with the headline 'Not enough focus on fertility issues in Budget'. Print Edition | Subscribe