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Friday, 4 June 2010

Perc Survey Results - Singapore Is Best "Bureaucracy"

"Regional financial centres Singapore and Hong Kong have the most efficient bureaucracies in Asia, according to a survey of expatriate business executives by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (Perc).

The survey, released yesterday, cited India, Indonesia and the Philippines for having the most inefficient bureaucracies in the region.

It was the fourth time that Singapore topped the poll.

Singapore was also No 1 and Hong Kong was in third place globally, behind New Zealand, in a separate survey by the World Bank on the ease of doing business, which covered 183 economies."

In a separate survey on 125 countries by the World Economic Forum (WEF, a Geneva-based independent organisation ) released in Hanoi (TODAY Friday, June 04, 2010), Singapore is ranked No. 1 as the best place in the world to carry out business, based on the performance in four main areas: Market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure and general business environment.

Singapore is ranked No.1 in this PERC survey, but what does this ranking signifies and what is it suggesting?

A BUREAUCRACY is defined by the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionarys as "a system for controlling or managing a country, company or organization that is operated by a large number of officials who are employed to follow rules carefully".

Red tape is known to occur only within a bureaucracy.

When we are described as a efficient "bureaucracy", is it necessarily a "compliment"?

  • Are we too good as a BUREAUCRACY with redundant rules and regulations ?

  • Are we then creating WASTE ?

  • Is this the "missing link" to explain our dropping PRODUCTIVITY ?
In a world of uncertainty and change, current achievements are no guarantee for future survival. Even if the initial chosen set of principles, policies and practices are good, static efficiency and governance would eventually lead to stagnation and decay. We need DYNAMIC GOVERNANCE.

But can government institutions be dynamic?

The typical government institution is not usually regarded as a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization, but a slow, stodgy bureaucracy that consistently and, sometimes, mindlessly enforces outdated rules and sticks to procedures without any care or concern for individuals or businesses.

Can institutions ever be dynamic?

Dynamism is characterized by new ideas, fresh perceptions, continual upgrading, quick actions, flexible adaptations and creative innovations. Dynamism implies continuous learning, fast and effective execution, and unending change.

And we require less and less rules and regulations. Rules and regulations should protect the individuals from the institutions and corporations, and not too much vice versa.

As critics also pointed out, "Singapore has the most pro-business policies in the whole world but the least protection for workers rights". While the neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India might be ranked badly in these surveys, all are known to have have mandatory severance pay or retrenchment benefits, but in Singapore such compensation is not mandatory despite a highly acclaimed National Trade Union Congress which is headed by a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

As an example, in order to improve the investment climate for foreign corporations, Parliament barred unions from negotiating promotion, transfers, firings, and working conditions after 1968.
Reference #1
India, Indonesia worst for red tape in Asia
TODAY Jun 03, 2010
Perc Survey Results
Countries were ranked on a scale from one to 10, with 10 as the worst possible score.
1. Singapore 2.53
2. Hong Kong 3.49
3. Thailand 5.53
4. South Korea 6.13
5. Japan 6.57
6. Taiwan 6.60
7. Malaysia 6.97
8. China 7.93
9. Vietnam 8.13
10. Philippines 8.37
11. Indonesia 8.59
12. India 9.41
Source: Political and Economic Risk Consultancy
Reference #2
S'pore still the best place for business
TODAY Jun 04, 2010
WEF Survey Results
Enabling Trade Index based on performance in four main areas :-
Market access,
Border administration,
Ttransport and communications infrastructure, and
General business environment.
Singapore 1
Hong Kong 2
Japan 25
South Korea 27
Taiwan, China 28
Source: WEF

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