Population of any nation acts as a catalyst for stimulating the pact of economic and financial development. Population comprises of the number of individuals living in a nation accounting as the residents of the respective nation.
It is worth mentioning that development activities are taken by the people through a selected set of representatives for the people’s development at the same time. Due to this, government of different measures and monitors the level and index of population at regular intervals. In this regard, the underlying paper aims at assessing economic implication of raising population level in the specific context of Singapore. The efforts of the Singapore government of increasing population target will be ascertained in light of its pros and cons i.e., advantages and disadvantages. The paper will also foster or present a proposed policy to overcome the identified weaknesses and improving the situation considerably.
The government of Singapore in its white paper named ‘A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore’ has announced to increase the population target in order to grow the total population in between 6.5m and 6.9m. This increment in the population statistics need to be attained till the end of 2030. The population target is aimed to increase as the government of Singapore wants to control the low total fertility rate which is about 1.2 (Gallezo 2013). The increased population targets will help in mitigating the impact of low level of total fertility rate.
In this regard, the Singapore government has specified the population target for both residents and non-residents. It has been identified that total population of any country comprises of both residents and non-residents. It is pertinent for the government to clearly specify population target for each population group in order to develop action plan accordingly.
The main emphasis of government efforts is on stimulating the population growth of residents as compared to non-residents. This is so because non-residents cannot be considered as the permanent citizens of any country as they easily switch over to other country for business or any other purpose. Non-residents reside in any particular country for some specific period or for some particular purpose and switch over to another country as and when purpose gets accomplished.
It is therefore, pertinent for government of every nation to design and formulate national plans in light of residents’ interest and benefits. Singapore government also affirm with this fact and announces population targets and associated plans for residents. It is evident from the fact that Singapore government has set the target of population growth for residents in between 4.2m to 4.4m in 2013. This target was comparatively high than the last year i.e., from 2012 where target of population growth was about 3.8m for residents (Swee-Hock 2012).
Population growth is also associated with various economic implications. In other words, high population rate crate significant impact on the overall economy and its development statistics. The most evident economic implication of high population growth is on the housing demand. The housing demand is positively related with the population growth. It means increase in the one result in the simultaneous increase of another i.e., high population growth means high housing demand and vice-versa. The high housing demand will create direct impact on land as more land will be fragmented to accommodate increasing population. It has been estimated that there is additional need of 700k homes in Singapore to cater to the housing needs of increased population.
The figure shows that more land will be fragmented in the coming period in Singapore. Other than this, higher population will also stimulate production process in the economy and thus will improve the figure of Gross domestic product. The production process will be improved as there will be wide availability of manpower required to produce and carry out manufacturing process. The increased manpower will directly result in fastening and making the production process quicker and ensuring wide availability of products and services. All such factors will result in more flow of products and services in the economy and thus will enhance the level of gross domestic product (Teo et. al. 2006).
Although the population growth contributes directly in increasing production, yet it also results in substantial reduction in the price of produced goods. This is due to the interplay of demand and supply phenomenon. More production means more availability of goods i.e., huge supply. As a result, business firms will be forced to sell the products at lower prices in order to clear the stock by time. The stock clearance situation will result in price decrease of produced goods and thus causes substantial loss of profits and revenue.
Economic implication of high population growth can also be identified in terms of fall or decrease in real and nominal wage of workers. It has been identified that government efforts of increasing population will foster high supply of labour and other class of workers. The more number of workers will disturb the demand and supply figure of labour statistics and forcing the workers to accept fall in real and nominal wage level. Furthermore, there is also positive economic implication of the high population growth other than the above stated negative impacts and issues. Economic growth of any economy is tied closely with the level and pace of technological development.
This is so because economy will be benefited in terms of having more creative minds to develop creative methodology and technology of working. In other words, the wide pool of creative minds will accelerate the pace of technological development and can bring the economy in the category of developed one (Hsiao-Li Sun 2012).
The policy direction of Singapore government of stimulating and increasing population growth contains both positive and negative aspects. The positive aspects discusses about advantages while negative aspects throws light on disadvantages of the policy. With respect to this, pros or advantages of the policy can be outlined in terms of greater domestic market, stimulating investment climate of the economy, improved productivity, increased demand and consumption level, high national savings and many more in Singapore. The size of the domestic market is determined by the number of people residing in a jurisdiction or area. The higher the number of people, the greater will be the domestic market. Singapore has been identified as one of the lowest population density country having restricted or limited domestic market.
The restricted or limited domestic market prevents the multinational business firms in making entry decision in the concerned economy. This attitude on the part of multinational business firms discourages the flow of investment in the country. It should be noted that foreign investors stimulates the flow of capital formation in an economy through establishing business firms and investing in the production process. And, size of the domestic market plays a crucial role in attracting and encouraging investors to invest in the economy and thus stimulates the flow of investment capital (Darkoh & Rwomire 2003).
Improved productivity level is evidenced from the high population level as there are more workers and manpower to carry out the production process. The productivity is directly related with the level and number of outputs delivered by workers in a specified period of time. The higher number of workers can produce more number of goods and thus can enhance the productivity level. The improved productivity level enable the business firms of the concerned country to deliver or offer the products at a lower cost and thus entails high profits and revenues.
The availability of products and services at lower cost contributes directly in improving the figure of national savings. It becomes possible as the residents are required to spend less amount of money on purchasing and consumption of products and services. The less spending on the part of residents will motivate them to save their incomes and thus increase the graph of national savings of the country.
On the other hand, there are also various disadvantages and negatives of Singapore’s government policy of population increase. Various research studies and survey has conducted in order to identify negative impact of this initiative of increasing population to 6.9 million by the end of 2030. The National Population and Talent Division of Singapore have stated that population target of 6.9 million requires the citizens of the country to grow and increase the existing population more than 55 percent (Bell 2005).
The increment has many negative impacts like as it will increase cost of living, reduction of real and nominal wages, and excess crowd in public transport vehicles.
Research studies and survey results also indicated that Singapore is a small and tiny nation having very limited accommodating area and housing space. It is very necessary for the nation to maintain a reasonable level of population in order to sustain and enabling every resident to live in a comfort and convenient manner.
The open door policy of providing new height to the population statistics will make this nation flooded with millions of people and posing a threat on the comfortable and sustainable living. In addition to it, social activist of the Singapore also accords negative review and comments on the government population expansion plans. Social activist of the country hold the belief that population expansion plans will give rise to social tension and conflicts among the residents and non-residents. It is so because increasing population will create pressure on the job market and housing facilities of the country. And, these two aspects will likely to influence people considerably and make them more susceptible to conflicts and tensions.
The above discussed negative aspects of population expansion plans highlight the need of proposing a policy recommendation and solution to the Singapore government in order to improve the situation. First and initial set of policy recommendation relates to expanding horizon of population expansion plans. It has been identified that attaining population target of 6.9m by 2030 is quite risky as it has many economic and social implications associated with it. There is need of expanding this horizon or timeline from 2030 to 2050 as it will provide enough scope to the government of the country to handle and identify solutions of various social and economic implications like housing space, public transport problems, etc (Brettell & Hollifield 2000).
Another set of policy recommendation relates to accelerating the growth of job market and employment opportunities in Singapore. The expanded duration will enable the country to develop positive investment climate and thus attracting foreign investors to invest in the country’s business firms and other sectors. The higher investment will give rise to more job and employment opportunities and thus will handle the problem of lower wages and nominal income of residents, higher cost of living, and so on. It has been estimated that economy of Singapore need to produce around half a million jobs in order to provide sustainable and comfortable living to 6.9m population.
Singapore government also need to include workforce growth aspect in the population expansion plans. Workforce growth is necessary for every country in order to have more secured and vibrant economic future. The high population growth demand simultaneous increase in workforce growth ratio and statistics. There should be about 0.5 to 1 percent increase in the workforce growth in order to maintain viability and success of population expansion plans (Bowen & Pallister 2002).
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that population growth plans of Singapore government contains various implications in social, economic and financial terms. It has been identified that both high and low level of population is hazardous for the nation’s growth and development. High level of population put pressure on the supply and consumption level while low level of population results in low demand and thereby low production and manufacturing activities.
Although there are various positive aspects of increased population, yet the negative social and economic consequences outweigh the effectiveness of population expansion plans. It is necessary to analyse and interpret such implications before implementing the plan in actual practice.
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https://sbr.com.sg/residential-property/exclusive/how-will-69m-population-target-impact-property-market [viewed on: 7 March 2013].
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