Economic condition of Singapore 2013 -2014

The aggressive Asian tiger
Singapore is one of the most aggressive states financially.  Similar to Israel, its economy is much more robust and powerful than the economies of comparatively much bigger countries.  The economic tiger of the South East Asia is known for its corruption free business environment, price control, a much higher per capita GDP that surpasses the per capita GDP of most of the developed nations even.  It’s a free market economy and its government has made it a highly developed economy within a few decades.  Its economy is export oriented and it exports IT products, consumer electronics, pharmaceutical products, and a financial services sector.
                  
Singapore: the darling of foreign entrepreneurs

Gregory Wade was the chief of Asia Pacific headquarters of Canada based RIM (the producer of Blackberry mobiles) in Singapore. When his tenor was finished in Singapore, he didn’t leave the Island state and rather joined an equity firm.  He lauded the economic miracle of Singapore and asked the Canadian companies to come and open their counters in Singapore.  At present, he is also the VP of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

The buzzing entrepreneurial energy

According to him, Singapore is buzzing with energy and you are bound to feel a vibe of growth here.  It encourages entrepreneurship and innovation as far as launching new products and services is concerned.  According to Wade, this kind of entrepreneurial energy is missing in his home country Canada.
     
Unparallel development

It’s really miraculous that a barren Island with a small population, with no natural resources witnessed such a booming growth and development in just a few decades.  It is unparallel in the history of the world.  It seems like its government runs the country like a profitable corporation.  They want nothing but the best—skilled workforce, the best professionals from around the world, expensive trainers and business leaders coupled with an open door policy, easy immigration laws and expat friendly environment.  The government of Singapore, unlike other democratic countries has a zero tolerance policy for protests, disruptions, and public dissent.

Growth despite global slowdown

Despite global recession of 2008-2010, Singapore has witnessed growth in almost every segment in the year 2012-13.  In the second quarter of the ongoing year 2013, the economy has registered 3.7% growth, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.  It was just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013.  On a quarter to quarter basis, the rate of economic growth was 15%, which is much higher as compared to the previous quarter.  The biggest beneficiaries were manufacturing sector, construction sector, and services sector.  These figures were achieved despite the slowdown in overseas markets and lack of demand in the European markets.

The future prospects

After a lackluster performance of international markets, the US market is expected to register mild growth, whereas Eurozone will remain struggling with recession.  Though, the economic activity in Eurozone is a good indicator.  Stable domestic demand is keeping ASEAN region in good shape.  Singapore economy is also expected to see a little growth this year.  The sectors driving the economy are manufacturing, transportation and storage.  The sectors which are domestically oriented in Singapore and don’t depend upon foreign demand such as construction and business services are also likely to see growth this year.

Singapore – Second largest FDI source

Singapore as a leading source of FDI for India

As far as India is concerned, Singapore’s economic growth comes as good news.  It is consistently the second largest source of FDI into India after Mauritius since 2008.  With a total investment of Rs 58,090 crore, its investment is mainly into telecom, offshoring services, oil refineries, power, food processing and electrical equipment. 
 
Increasing FDI since 2008

So, it’s way ahead of US, UK and Netherlands, the other top investors in India.  It’s quite surprising given the size of the country, which is much smaller as compared to the countries like US, UK and China.  Before 2008, the second position was occupied by the US. UK was third, which has slid to fourth position now.  In 2008, the FDI jumped by $1 billion, whereas FDI from US was just $300 million.  UK’s long-term investment flow was just $50 million. 
Before that the FDI from Singapore was below $600 million and it was much less than US and UK.   Earlier the contribution of US and UK used to be around $900 million and $1900 million respectively.  The credit crunch is also cited as one of the reasons for a downfall in investment from US and UK.
 
Temasek and GIC

The sudden inflow from the Island state is also associated with FDI from two major sovereign funds Temasek and GIC.  These funds were active private investors before, and with Temasek acquiring additional strength, the FDI in India boomed.  Just a year before, the two major funds were involved in financial deals in India worth $3.5 billion and it was a whopping one fifth of the total private equity deals made in 2007.  

A decade of investment

The total foreign direct investment from Singapore since year 2001 to year 2008 was just $6 billion, which was just next to Mauritius ($30 billion). Even during that period the investments from US and UK were just $5.5 billion and $4.5 billion respectively, which was way too less as compared to Singapore.  So, it’s clear that Singapore has always been a leading financial partner of India with heavy investments into our country. 
Till June, 2008, Singapore’s share in cumulative FDI in India was around 8% of the global investments, which makes it a leading FDI source country for India.  The major chunk of foreign direct investment in India went to sectors like services, IT, telecom, construction, metallurgy, automobiles and pharmaceuticals.  
   
Recent measures to improve FDI

Indian government liberalized FDI norms in 2012 after a huge slump in its FDI due to poor performance to economy.  FDI caps were modified in various sectors such as petroleum, natural gas, media and tea.  Certain sectors such as civil aviation, retail and power received the maximum benefits of liberalization.

Singapore, a leading investor in 2013

In April 2013, Singapore again infused US$1.3 billion in Indian market.  It was followed by Mauritius the largest investor and US; however their contribution was just a fraction of Singapore’s viz. US$ 350 million and US$ 175 million respectively. So, Singapore again emerged as a leading source of FDI in India. The island state’s financial prowess is considered to be auspicious for India.  Singapore has emerged as a boon for Indian economy.

Education In Singapore

Ministry of Education in Singapore

Ministry of Education is the body in Singapore, which manages education across this Island State.  It controls not only the government schools that receive funding, but also the private schools.  Therefore, it provides different levels of autonomy to the schools in terms of tuition, fees, admission policy and government funding.  Singapore is a state, where a hefty 90% of annual national budget goes towards education.  It means that the government gives extreme importance to education and is committed to education for all. 

Education for all

It also offers subsidized education and ensures primary education for all Singaporeans through different programs such as Edusave.  It has also passed the Compulsory Education Act, according to which if the parents fail to enroll their kids in school, then it would be cited as a criminal offense on behalf of parents.  However, there are certain exemptions such as enrolling for full-time religious education, but the citizens have to file the report to the Ministry of Education that they are exempted from this Act.

Medium of Instruction

The official language and the medium of instruction in Singapore is English, which is considered to be the first language and the official language of the state as well.  Almost 50% of children learn English by the time they get to the preschool, because English is used as the medium of instruction in all the primary schools.  The other official languages include Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, which are taught separately.  However, under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP), subjects are taught at some of the secondary schools in the native languages such as Mandarin.

Education that is employment oriented  

Singapore’s education system is highly rated in the word and in 2010 it was described as “the leading education system in the world” by the British Education Ministry.  The annual budget of education in Singapore is 7 billion Singaporean dollars.  The overall literacy level is 96%, out of which 98% are males.  The percentage of secondary diploma holders is 67% and that of the post secondary diploma holders is around 50%.  In the 1960s, Singapore education system was redesigned to produce skilled workforce.  It was survival driven and was aimed to minimize unemployment. 

Emphasis on quality

In the 1980s, when Singapore started moving on the growth curve, the government started to emphasize on quality more than quantity.  Various programs and courses were introduced, according to the individual abilities and more opportunities for vocational education were offered by the government. Academic and technical streams are separated to facilitate students.  In 1997, Singaporean government launched the vision, “Thinking Schools, Learning Nations”.  This vision became the driving force behind the Ministry of Education’s drive for greater autonomy to the institutes and schools as far as designing the curriculum and the development of niche areas is concerned.

The elementary and primary education in Singapore

Kindergartens are the schools, which are meant for children below six.  The primary education starts from age 7, with two main stages; “Primary and Orientation”.  Primary education is made compulsory by the government.  The “Orientation” stage lasts at 6th standard.  After primary education, secondary education begins.
In order to get admission in international schools in Singapore, the citizens have to take permission from the Ministry of Education.  Various names are given to secondary education tracks/streams such as “Express, Special and Normal”.  “Normal” includes technical education as well. 

Co-curricular activities.

Singapore government gives emphasis to co-curricular activities and has made it compulsory at the primary and secondary levels. It arranges activities such as Performing Arts, Clubs, Uniformed Groups and Sports Competitions.

Admission procedure for secondary education
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The secondary education is conducted through GCE ‘O’ level exam, which determines the institution you are going to get admission in.  It is followed by a two years course leading to ‘A’ level exam.  For technical education, you are several polytechnics in Singapore, along with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
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Education with commercial perspective

Singapore government has always considered education as the driving force for its economy.  Skilled workforce compensates for lack of natural resources in Singapore.  Moving over producing qualified workforce, Singapore government is now taking education as a source of revenue and foreign capital inflow.  Thus government is poised to make Singapore a “Global Schoolhouse”, attracting international students to supplement its foreign currency requirements.  The education sector is responsible for around 5% contribution towards Singapore’s economy.

Tourism in Singapore

Tourism in Singapore

Singapore as a melting pot of different cultures 
Singapore is vibrant economy and an attractive tourist destination.  Located on the southern tip of Malaysian Peninsula, it’s formed of 59 islands.  With around 5 million people as its inhabitants, Singapore is one of the four Asian Tigers, and a major business center in the entire Southeast Asian region.  It has been one of the most modern cities in the world for many decades now.  It assimilates various cultures such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, Arab, and English.  The amazing ethnic diversity makes it one of the best tourist destinations for shopping, sightseeing and culinary delight. 

Singapore as a tourist attraction
Traditional festivals and holidays of different ethnic populations in Singapore are celebrated round the year and make it an appealing tourist destination. The island state, which is located one degree north of equator, is the haven of luxury hotels. Singapore has a special appeal because its government is highly efficient and focused towards development.  It has created a name for itself in the world of tourism and trade.  People prefer to visit and work in Singapore because of its administrative excellence and quality of life.  The capital Singapore is located on an island, which is just one third of the main island of the state.

Singapore Amusement Parks
Singapore as a tourist destination has many attractions including its amusement parks, which are meant for fun with family and friends.  At eating joints, you can have some of the most amazing cuisines from around the world.

Art galleries
Singapore competes with Hong Kong and other leading cities of the world as a center of art. It has a lot of prominent galleries, where you can unwind yourself.

Parks and gardens
With around 50 parks, gardens and nature reserves based on Chinese and Malay themes, Singapore is an ultimate destination for nature tourism.      

Night Safari Tour
Night Safari Tour is the best way to explore wildlife at the night zoo.  It has around 1000 animals with 140 species representing various geographic regions in the world. You can explore this tropical forest either by tram or just on foot.

Sentosa thrills
Sentosa offers amazing adventure sports, dining and recreational facilities. You can also enjoy a cable car ride to reach Sentosa Island. It offers a kaleidoscopic view of Singapore skyline. You can also explore the history of Singapore since World War II in Sentosa. Explore the underwater world in the grand Oceanarium and enjoy a sensational show of music and Lights the ‘Songs of the Sea Show’.

Universal Studios
Your visit to Singapore is incomplete without spending a day at Universal Studio. It’s a movie theme park offering various related attractions.

Shopping malls
A visit to Singapore is incomplete without visiting its shopping malls. 
Some of the must vist shopping malls in Singapore are:
TANGS Orchard, Wisma Atria, ION Orchard, Bugis Junction, FestiveWalk™ at Resorts World™ Sentosa, Changi Airport Mall Singapore, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands®, Suntec City Mall, Marina Square, Mandarin Gallery(designer boutiques), Funan Digitalife Mall ( for gadget enthusiasts), 313@somerset at Orchard Road belt, Park Mall with cafes and restaurants, Paragon for designer and luxury items, Palais Renaissance for international brand and dining facilities, Orchard Central (the tallest mall of Singapore) Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road, Mustafa Centre with bustling crowds (known as little India), Knightsbridge at Orchard Road, and Joo Chiat Complex  for Malay Textiles and crafts.