S'pore did better than expected

SINGAPORE- Singapore's economy has done well in 2013, growing by 3.7 per cent last year - better than initially expected, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his New Year message on Dec 31.

Median salaries also increased by 3.9 per cent in real terms and pay for the lower-income went up.

"This means better jobs and new opportunities for workers. It also means that we can do more to make ours a gracious city for all. Next year we expect to grow by 2 to 4 per cent," said Mr Lee, adding that, provided nothing untoward happens in Asia, he is confident Singapore will do well.

He also talked about investing in Singapore's future and developing new capabilities for tomorrow's economy, and how we are transforming our physical environment and working through teething problems.

"We are creating exciting opportunities, to hand on to our children a better Singapore than the one we inherited," he said.

Mr Lee said there has been steady progress in the property front, where the first-timer queue for HDB flats has shortened, housing prices have stabilised and targeted subsidies have made homes more affordable.

For education, Singapore is also investing in quality pre-school education and refining the Primary 1 registration and PSLE scoring systems.

"Our schools are stressing values and character education. Equally, we are broadening definitions of success as we seek to make every school a good school," he said.

Mr Lee also spoke about putting into action the new way forward he mentioned in his National Day Rally speech last August, with stronger social safety nets and measures to ensure society remains open and mobile.

He said: "We will strengthen social safety nets to ensure that anyone can bounce back from difficulty and to give Singaporeans, especially our seniors, greater peace of mind on their health-care costs.

"We will share the fruits of progress more widely, including through home ownership schemes and support for low wage workers."


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