In July this year, civil servants were paid a mid-year Annual Variable Component (AVC) of half-a-month's salary (0.5-month) plus a S$250 quantum. Sources said the government is considering an additional 0.75-month bonus plus a dollar quantum for the year end bonanza.
On Monday it was reported Singapore faces a sharply lower economic growth of 1.0-3.0 percent in 2012 amid an export slowdown, and more bad news about the debt woes in Europe's that could trigger a global crisis.
The projection is worse than the previous estimate of 2.5-3.5 percent and well down from the 5 percent predicted for 2011 earlier as demand in Europe and the United States was drying up. Even China manufacturers are not immune to the imminent meltdown, as they suffered the weakest month of activity in 32 months.
Growth, the lack of, is not the only ill wind around town. "This does not factor in downside risks to growth, such as a worsening debt situation or a full-blown financial crisis in the advanced economies," the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement. "Should these risks materialise, growth in the Singapore economy in 2012 could come in lower than expected."
So what if the world falls into the abyss of recession? The Singapore civil servants still get to collect. Tell that to the AMD staff who were laid off with Christmas just round the corner. Industry experts say the American chip maker was simply taking austerity measures in the face of the countdown to Armageddon. For them, bonus would mean surviving the forthcoming downturn to stay in business.
Analysts from Nomura financial services group are hoping the government may step in with a stimulus package when the next budget is unveiled in February 2012. Doesn't matter. Whether the stimulus package works or not, they'll still be rewarding themselves for a job well done. One thing's for certain, the salary review Gerard Ee is (still) working on won't be implemented until after the Christmas presents are opened.