Saturday 30 August 2014

REACH NDR 2014 Public Forum

'More clarity in two weeks'
Minister: Fund's flexibility, Minimum Sum among panel's considerations
By Walter Sim, The Straits Times, 29 Aug 2014

SINGAPOREANS will have a better idea of what the Government envisages for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) in the next two weeks, when a panel finalises its review of areas in need of improvement.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said that among the issues being considered are increasing the degree of flexibility for withdrawals of the savings, addressing the uncertainty surrounding the Minimum Sum and boosting support for the elderly.

Mr Tan made the point last night when addressing 140 people at a public forum on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech.

The session, organised by government feedback unit REACH, was held at *Scape and moderated by REACH chairman Amy Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower.

One participant said there was a "communications problem" in how the Minimum Sum has been publicised. He asked Mr Tan whether the projected Minimum Sum for each cohort could be made publicly available in advance, but with a caveat that the figure is an estimated sum.

Mr Tan replied: "The variable is inflation. So if we perhaps settle it at 2 per cent every year, then I can actually give for sure. So we're actually looking at it, whether we can just take that uncertainty out of the whole equation.

"If inflation turns out to be very erratic, then we will reset it again."

He later added: "We are going to look at how we can be clearer. Basically it's the uncertainty; the more certainty we have, the less anxiety... That's something we are quite tempted to do but we will go through the review panel to see if it is something we want."

PM Lee had said in his rally speech that the Minimum Sum will be raised to $161,000 for those turning 55 next July. He said he did not see a need for further major increases.

The other hot topic at the forum was education, with one participant saying he hopes the Government "will not swing the pendulum too much".

He was referring to PM Lee saying more would be done to support the aspirations of non-graduates, with the public sector taking the lead.

Mr Tan said it is good to have diversity.

"There will be a variety of jobs. But it is important for us not to assume that every single job, every single pathway will be equal for all.

"But everyone will have a fulfilling journey of his or her own."

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