SINGAPORE (Jan 29): Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), says Singapore must accept that, as a mature economy with one of the world’s highest levels of per capita income, it will not be able to sustain 6% to 7% rates of growth that were seen a decade ago.

“First, we should not grow despondent over our slowing rate of economic growth,” Menon said on Jan 22 at the Singapore Perspectives 2018 conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). “As a global city, [however,] we cannot afford to grow too slowly either.”

According to Menon, Singapore is facing what he calls a “demographic trilemma”: If we want the labour force to grow and have zero net immigration, then we have to allow the share of foreign workers in the workforce to rise; if we want the overall labour force to grow and the share of foreign workers to be stable, then we have to allow net immigration; and if we want zero net immigration and the foreign worker share to be stable, then we have to accept zero labour force growth.

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