They say the EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey 2021 which ranked Singapore as the 2nd most expensive place to live is wrong.
In this year’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, Singapore is ranked the second most expensive city in the world. The ranking is done by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), published on 1 December 2021.
The survey compares the cost of living in 173 countries. We are tied in second place with Paris, and Israel takes the first place.
A statement published on gov.sg disagrees with the survey. They say that it is not representative of an “average Singaporean household” and they had 2 reasons why they disagree.
1) They say that whatever the EIU considers is not what Singaporeans normally consume.
The EIU has a set standard across all the nations they compare. This claim by the government really goes against their frequently preached “swiss standard of living”. If we are truly having a swiss standard of living, shouldn’t our consumption be similar to them?
For example, housing, transport, food, these should be rather consistent.
“The EIU consumption basket is not based on the typical consumption pattern of Singaporean households and is therefore not a good gauge of cost of living for Singaporean households.”gov.sg
Yet the government chooses to mention how the survey takes into account international foreign daily newspapers. They claim that Singaporeans don’t read those, adding that local newspapers are much cheaper.
How do they know Singaporeans don’t take in foreign news? Moreover, this the only example they can give to say why the things being considered in the survey are not accurate. Really calls into question their claims.
2) They say that EIU considered prices in USD
They say that this means that the survey results will fluctuate with the currency.
“However, currency fluctuations have less impact on the cost of living of Singaporeans who earn their income in Singapore dollars.”gov.sg
Unfortunately, they forget that currency fluctuations will affect every country not using the USD. Even if we picked a different date to perform the survey, Singapore would still be ranked among the top most expensive places to live.
Moreover, we are dependent on imports too. If our currency is weakening, this means that prices of imports would increase for us, and consequently increasing the cost of living here.
The 2 arguments are weak
Even without looking at the survey, average Singaporeans can easily tell how expensive it is getting to live here. In their statement, the government kept singing their own praises about how they try to help Singaporeans with the cost of living.
Yet, only a small proportion of Singaporeans can get those help. Let’s take a look at single Singaporeans for example. Even buying a house is expensive. You need on average a million dollars to buy a flat before you turn 35. Housing is a basic necessity, how can they claim that we are not expensive when a mere look at our housing market tells us otherwise?
Moreover, even paying for healthcare is difficult. We recently reported that a man who needs hearing aids is unable to get it because the Pioneer Generation subsidy does not cover this. Additionally, if you have pre-existing medical conditions, no insurance companies in Singapore will cover you AND the government will also ask you to pay extra premium for MediShield.
Singapore is only not expensive for the rich and privileged. That includes our out of touch government resting in their ivory towers.