Singapore income gap to widen further

Dow Jones online
21 Nov 06

Singapore’s income gap will continue to widen in coming years due to pressures linked to globalization, a labor department official said at a press briefing Monday.

“We do expect the trend to continue,” said Jeffrey Wong, divisional director of Manpower Planning and Policy Division, Ministry of Manpower. “This is largely the result of globalization.”

Wong’s comments follow the recent announcement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that Singapore would raise the sales tax to 7% from the current 5% next year, and simultaneously introduce a packaged designed to help low-income Singaporeans.

Wong was responding to a question about wage trends in the next one to two years.

“Basically, we see the highest group of professionals – their wages are rising. And on the other hand, the wages of the lowest group is largely flat,” Wong said.

Between 2000 and 2005, incomes in the highest decile of Singapore households increased at a 2.8% annual rate, while the lowest deciles had an outright decline, according to the government’s most recent survey.

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