The Singapore government is to review a decade-old ”Baby Bonus” scheme which failed to increase the fertility rate in the city state even after paying out a whopping 230 million dollars in incentives to parents to encourage them have more children.
Despite the monetary-grant based scheme, Singapore”s fertility rate dropped 1.16 per cent last year, a far cry from the replacement rate of 2.1 per cent, the Channel News Asia reported today.
Seah Kian Peng, Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: “I will ask the government to continue to review and see if there are some things they should consider.”
“The issue of low TFR (Total Fertility Rate), is a very serious one, so I think we need to think more out of the box. Try new things, some may work, some may not work, but I think we should really venture out of the current schemes that we have talked about,” the Channel News Asia quoted Seah as saying.
“We should look beyond current schemes, to see what else can be done, and really adopt a whole of a government approach, from accommodation, to housing to paternity, maternity leave and certainly the baby bonus scheme,” said Seah.
The government increased the baby bonus payouts to parents to 230 million Singaporean dollars in 2009 from Singaporean dollars 55 million in 2004.
The Community Development Youth and Sports ministry (MCYS) would carry out a survey between April and June this year, seeking satisfactory level feedback from parents who have benefited from the Baby Bonus.
The scheme gives parents a cash gift of up to 4,000 dollars each for the first and second child and 6,000 dollars each for the third and fourth child.
The government also matches a dollar-for-dollar in parents” contribution to their child”s Children Development Account.
The scheme has been enhanced twice in 2004 and in 2008 but the low fertility rate continues to worry the government on future population of Singapore, which is already heavily dependent on immigrants to keep its high-pace economy humming.