White Paper marks a slowdown in population growth: DPM Teo

THE Population White Paper proposes a significant slowdown in population and workforce growth, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Monday as he launched the debate in Parliament on the proposed policy that has sparked debate since its annoucement last week.

He also stressed that the Government is not deciding on a population of 6.9 million by 2030. In fact, with restructuring and productivity gains, Singaporeans living healthier and longer and therefore choosing to remain in the workforce longer, and more women joining the workforce, the Government hopes the population will not reach 6.9 million, he said.

"It is the ability to meet the needs of Singaporeans and provide a good quality of life that is the driver, not the numbers per se. If we are able to achieve this with a smaller population, whether 6.5m or perhaps even lower, there is no reason to go higher," Mr Teo said.

However, the population projection of 6.5 to 6.9 million people here by 2030 is needed so that the Government can make long term plans to cater even to the high end of possible populations, he added.

Mr Teo said the white paper proposes a significant slowdown in the growth of the workforce and population. Workforce growth will be cut to about half of what it has been, to between 1 and 2 per cent a year till 2020. Beyond that, the paper proposes that rate be slowed further to 1 per cent a year.

He sought Parliament's endorsement of the white paper, "A sustainable population for a dynamic Singapore", and a complementary land use report, "A high quality living environment".

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