As the G-20 meets, different governments around the world are implementing strategies according to their national conditions to meet the needs of the crisis.
In Singapore, the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) is dipping into its reserves to help poor families affected by the global financial downturn.
The self-help group has tapped into an S$18 million (later revised to S$20 million) operating budget its welfare programs, including skills training courses (increase of 1000 applicants in 2008 from 2007), applications for job seekers and workfare assistance scheme in which 1800 families received aid.
An additional 1000 students will also receive bursaries in 2008, on top of the 1600 who received them in 2008. Needy families would also get grocery vouchers worth S$30 while the remaining S$1 million would go into the council’s Ready for School Project which provides struggling children with education packs worth S$100 of stationery, transportation and book vouchers. Some 7500 children are slated to receive such aid.
This is a recognition that there is a need to help individuals in difficulties. In addition, the government is considering helping small and medium sized enterprises in Singapore. Details are not out yet.
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has also drawn up guidelines in 2001 to ask employees to lead by example when considering the question of layoffs, for e.g. senior management should start off by cutting their salaries earlier or institute deeper cuts with retrenchment only as a last resort.
Other possible coping mechanisms can include implementing shorter work weeks, temporary layoffs, encouragement of clearing of annual leave or tweaking the Monthly Variable Component of salaries to lower wage costs. One of the best solutions is probably sending workers for upgrading and retraining.
Lin, Yanqin, “Softening the blow” dated 20 November 2008 in Today (Singapore: Today), 2008, p. 1.
Straits Times, “Some Economic relief measures to come soon” dated 16 November 2008 in the Straits Times (Singapore: The Straits Times), 2008, p. 1.
Yong, Debbie, “CDAC taps into reserves to help more” dated 16 November 2008 in the Straits Times (Singapore: The Straits Times), 2008, p. 10.