Recession is cyclical and “fundamentally structural”, so says Minister Chan Chun Sing. Speaking in Parliament today (April 4th), the Minister who is also the chief of NTUC was attempting to build expectations that even a good government cannot prevent recession:

“The economy is undergoing both a cyclical slowdown, as well as a fundamental, structural slowdown in which consumer habits and production patterns change.”

Minister Chan Chun Sing went on to claim that the currently-declining number of jobs available is not a problem for a retrenched worker:

“The problem is not the total number of jobs available in the economy. The real question is: How do we help the person who is displaced at the retail line, get into another job that has been created? It will be too far-fetched…  to expect someone who is displaced at the retail scene, to be able – with minimal training – to go into the e-commerce space or the data management space.”

The NTUC union chief attempted with new words like his mentor-predecessor Lim Swee Say, saying workers need to “upskill” and for those aged 40 and above, they need to “secondskill”. According to Minister Chan Chun Sing, Singaporeans can tap on the generous S$500 SkillsFuture credits by taking courses provided by the government agencies.

The former Army General who never worked a day in the private sector then continued to claim that from his numerous company visits, productivity does not depend on the government because macro measures do not “miraculously” lift productivity:

“We got to go sectorally, to examine where are the laggards in our productivity drive. How best can we help them to uplift the productivity in their respective sectors? We either do this or we pretend that some broad macro measures will miraculously lift the productivity of all. I don’t believe that. I’ve visited enough companies to know that no two companies are the same.”