The challenges of decreasing total fertility rate (TFR) and aging population have a major impact on the strength and growth of our economy, security level, and society on a long term basis.
These challenges continue to loom just across our horizon and the potential threats are getting closer to our view.
We need to take a braver and more aggressive stronger move – a more comprehensive Next Generation Package (NGP) – to turn the silver tsunami tide and improve the TFR on a more sustainable basis.
We need to tackle the decreasing TFR on a more targeted, holistic, catalytic, and impactful basis. Implement the initiatives with active buy-in, support and participation from the public, private and people sectors.
The NGP should address not just the roots but also the symptoms of the issues. It should seek to eradicate all the roots as soon as possible as time is of the essence.
For example, many couples are still concern about the financial burdens of having and raising children. These concerns can have a stronger influence on couples’ decision to have a child than the pleasures of having one.
The NGP should take a multidimensional, multidisciplinary, and multifaceted approach to help especially young couples to defray major costs of bringing up their children. It includes costs of placing their children in childcare centres, medical costs, educational costs, and costs for major living essentials.
The NGP can lessen couples’ worries and encourage them to have more children and have them earlier. It can lead to a more protracted increase in the TFR.
Encourage homemakers to join the workforce and be more committed to improving personal and organisational productivity and results.
There are also many other indirect but catalytic outcomes that can result in a cascade of positive benefits for our country.
These benefits include building stronger families and communities, strengthening the economy, and developing a more caring, cohesive and compassionate society.
If it takes a village to bring up a child, let’s make Singapore the best village to bring up an appropriate quantity and quality of children to further secure and brighten our future.
I hope this message will find a place in your heart.
By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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