Foreign labour not a must-have for firms

Foreign labour not a must-have for firms

IN MY travels, I have observed how other countries have been able to reduce their reliance on foreign workers and raise productivity ("Hold off further increases in foreign worker levies" by Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit; Wednesday).

When I visited Tokyo, I saw a 15-seat ramen stall run by just one man with a machine that took care of the orders and payments.

In New Zealand, waist-high traffic lights were used to direct traffic at a highway undergoing repair work, so the workers could focus on their tasks instead of having to wave "Stop" and "Go" signs.

Companies that sign up for the Productivity and Innovation Credit grant must be willing to embrace technology to reduce their need for cheap foreign labour.

Firms that say they cannot survive without foreign workers should make way for those that can.

After all, the people of Singapore have voiced their willingness to accept a slower pace of growth in order to have a more controlled influx of foreign labour.

This article was first published on Jan 23, 2015.
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