Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Singapore commits additional $33 billion to combat COVID-19 fallout

The Singaporean government has announced that it will set aside an additional $33.6 billion (SGD 48.4 billion) to fend off the economic impact of COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed today, 26 March. The amount, which is nearly half of the government’s 2020 budget, is meant to support workers, families and businesses as the island nation grapples with the unprecedented crisis.

The amount will be on top of the $4.4 billion (SGD 6.4 billion) the Singaporean government committed a little over a month ago. In total, Singapore is allocating almost $38.2 billion (SGD 55 billion) – or 11% of its GDP – to fight the pandemic.

"This is a landmark package, and a necessary response to a unique situation,” said Heng.

Heng stressed three key objectives of the “Resilience Budget,” the first of which being to protect the jobs and livelihoods of workers. The measure’s second purpose is to assist businesses in overcoming immediate challenges following the epidemic’s economic blow. Third, the budget is geared toward strengthening the social and economic resilience of the country so it can bounce back from the crisis.

The deputy prime minister has said that President Halimah Yacob has given the nod to draw up to $11.8 billion (SGD 17 billion) from Singapore’s past reserves for the aid package. The amount will serve as part of this multibillion dollar “Resilience Budget.” This marks the second time that Singapore will use its national reserves for special Budget measures, the first time having occurred during the global financial crisis in 2009.

"In economic terms alone, this will likely be the worst economic contraction since independence. This extraordinary situation calls for extraordinary measures," the deputy prime minister said.

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