Fall in income inequality also among Govt's key achievements, says report

Fall in income inequality also among Govt's key achievements, says report

WAGE growth for the bottom fifth of workers and households and a decline in income inequality are among the Government's key achievements in the last two years, says a new report assessing public sector outcomes.

The Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review is issued by the Ministry of Finance every two years.

The latest review, released yesterday, painted an upbeat picture of how life has improved for Singaporeans in areas such as health, education, manpower and housing.

Income inequality has declined, with the Gini coefficient down from 0.434 in 2012 to 0.412 last year, after taxes and government transfers to those on lower incomes.

The Gini measure ranges from zero to one, with higher values indicating more inequality.

Last year, Singaporean workers at the 20th percentile, the cut-off for the bottom fifth of wage earners, earned $1,800 a month. Those at the median, or the midpoint of the income range, earned $3,480 a month.

That is an increase of 6 per cent and 9 per cent respectively since 2009, after accounting for inflation, the report said.

At the household level, Singaporean households at the 20th percentile and median levels earned $1,011 and $2,114 respectively per household member last year.

That is an increase of 14 per cent since 2009 for both groups, after accounting for inflation.

Costs are also going up more slowly, the report noted, with inflation slowing from 2.4 per cent last year to 1.7 per cent for the first sixth months of this year.

But the 68-page report, the third since 2010, also acknowledged problem areas such as weak labour productivity and a lack of capacity in health care and public transport.

It said health-care capacity is being "significantly expanded", and that "between now and 2020, one new hospital and polyclinic will open every year, on average".

On the image of the public service, the report acknowledged that it "has been dented in recent years by some high-profile fraud cases and procurement lapse".

"Firm actions have been taken to prosecute errant public officers, regardless of seniority, and we will not hesitate to take further measures to uphold integrity of our public institutions," it added.

The report also contained a promise that the civil service would step up efforts to involve citizens as it improves public services. It will find new ways to gather feedback by setting up listening booths.

It will also ensure that members of the public do not get shuffled from pillar to post, but instead enjoy "a more seamless experience when they interact with the Government".

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