• Short Summary

    An optimistic but cautious future for Singapore was painted on Wednesday (9 August) by Prime Minster Lee Kwan Yew in a message marking the country's fourteenth year of Independence Mr.

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    An optimistic but cautious future for Singapore was painted on Wednesday (9 August) by Prime Minster Lee Kwan Yew in a message marking the country's fourteenth year of Independence Mr. Lee said the outlook for Singapore was more than fair adding that the island had recorded an eight per cent economic growth rate for the first six months and could maintain it for the rest of this year. Mr. Lee said this wold be two to three per cent more than the growth average of the European Cooperation and Development Countries. The optimistic theme of the Singapore leader's message surprised many observers particular as other government leaders had been urging the nation to gear itself for harder times ahead.

    Singapore celebrated its fourteenth National Day with a colourful marchpast and cultural display.

    More than ten thousand youths, workers, and soldiers took part in the impressive parade down a wide street facing City Hall. The salute was taken by the Singapore President Benjamin Sheares.

    Also taking part in the parade were tanks, armoured vehicles, and a low flying formation of Skyhawks and Hunters of the Air Force. (SEQ 1)
    Singapore's modern skyline is a testament to its record of phenomenal economic growth which has given its 2.2 million citizens the highest standard of living in south least Asia.

    The average income of a Singaporean has increased by more than half over the past five years while inflation has ben kept down to manageable single figure proportions.

    The main task no for the island republic is how to sustain this growth amid world-wide uncertainties, increasing trade protectionism n industrial countries and a slowdown in foreign investment.

    With no natural resources and a very small agricultural sector, the 256 square mile (690 sq km) city state depends on trade and commerce for its survival and is vulnerable to international economic pressures and fluctuations. (SWQ 2-5)
    Singapore relies heavily on outlets in the leading industrial markets of the wold in order to sustain essential growth in its external trade. Although exports to the European Community, the US, and Japan have shown an overall increase, the government is becoming concerned about protectionism in these key areas.

    Singapore's exports have been increasing rapidly but so are imports, The island's trade deficit for the first half of this year widened to 1.3 billion US dollars, this compares to 893 million US dollars for the same period last year. (SEQ 6-7)
    A campaign has been launched by the government to extol the virtues of hard work an warn the people that they must innovate to maintain progress, Regulations to discourage youths from turning into food stall hawkers have been passed in an effort to channel their energies into other jobs vital to the state's economic development. Only Singaporeans above the age of 40 and unable to find other employment are eligible to apply for hawkers licences.

    Singapore's formula for economic growth so far has been to provide an ideal setting for foreign investors, including political stability and a not to demanding skilled workforce. But observers believe that the continued success may well depend n Lee kwan Yew's ability to provide a new direction to overcome anticipated difficulties in the economic sector such as competition and a slowdown in the foreign capital in flow.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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