Words: Singapore’s 90% Subsidization on Drivers’ Licenses Costs

Driving as a vocation in Singapore isn’t a very big thing among Singaporeans. So, as usual it is outsourced to foreigners. However, the recent influx of foreigners have caused many problems on the road as well as other public spheres. Mainly the immigrant drivers are causing accidents due to their devil-may-care style of driving. It is not a pretty sight and my personal encounters with foreign lorry drivers have not been all that great as well.

Our government has always been good with subtlety, and hence, instead of banning foreign license holders, they decided to play the good cop strategy and get more locals to drive. How do they go about doing it? The government coping with this problem; recently, the government has decided to waiver 90% of the costs of a drivers license, for the lower income bracket. So, instead of spending about SGD2000, which is pretty normal, the participants would only have to pay about SGD200, which is about 10 times less, or a 90% discount.

There are a few conditions for this measure though:

1) You have to have a salary of >SGD1700 per month or a Household Per capita of >SGD1400 or you are unemployed

2) You have to be a SINGAPOREAN or a PR <= YEAH BITCHES SUBTLE

3) NTUC will assign you to jobs after you get your license

Check out the Straits Times article below.

So now, let me tell you how this strategy would not work. By encouraging locals to drive, and offering them a higher pay incentive, the unions are putting pressure on the companies they are supposed to be representing. If the company owner can higher an Ah Tiong (Chinaman) for almost 60% of the cost, why should they higher a local? This may lead to an excess or redundancy of vocational “drivers”. Hence, those that are laid off, would simply be a waste of tax-payers money, i.e the tax payers money pays for their license, without them contributing back to society. 

Also, out of the bulk of drivers who complete the scheme, some of them are bound to have bad work ethics, as compared to the AhTiongBu who are able to work 16 hour days without complaining. This would again, lead to those whom have bad work ethics to become unemployed and basically non-beneficial to society.

Now, lets consider that 25% of the drivers who sign up for the scheme will get laid off structurally, thats not too big an estimate right?

Now, Singstats, has stated that in 2011, there are 9.8% of households with NO WORKING PERSON in the household. 1,146,000 households in Singapore, 9.8% of that is roughly 100,000. So, those households contribute to the 10th percentile, a safe estimate of people that qualify for the programme would be somewhere within the region from 0 – 20th percentile, hence that adds up to about 200,000 households. If an average household is roughly 4 individuals,  and lets say 1 in 4 people take up the scheme. That’s 200,000 people, which will amount to a subsidy of close to 4million dollars. So now, say 20% or 1 in 4 drivers who sign up fail to productively contribute, that equals to a nice 1 million in tax dollars being wasted.

So what do you think is the right alternative?