Singapore—On Tuesday, (Feb 11), Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, announced that the Government is preparing a “strong package” to include in this year’s national Budget in recognition of the economic impact that the Covid-19 virus will have on individuals and businesses.
In response to this, netizens commented with a wish list of what they want to see in this year’s Budget, most of which have to do with day-to-day cost of living expenses.
The Budget is scheduled to be rolled out next Tuesday (Feb 18), by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. As early as last month, Mr Heng already said that the Budget would take into consideration effects of the Novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and has since affected over 45,000 people all over the globe. Singapore now has 50 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Analysts have said that sectors such as tourism and hospitality will suffer a major blow, with as many as a third fewer tourists expected to come to Singapore this year. And due to the country’s strong economic ties to China, the impact due to Covid-19 may even be stronger than it had been during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr Wong said, “I think you can well anticipate a larger impact overall which will then have a knock-on impact on Singapore too.
We are preparing for that, we are anticipating that and that’s why we will announce what the appropriate measures.” (sic)
He added, “We are preparing for a strong package in the coming budget to help our companies as well as to help workers stay in their jobs.”
Netizens responded to Mr Wong’s comments on the “strong package” with what they wish to see in the Budget, which has everything to do with their everyday expenses.
One man wrote about help for those looking for jobs.
Another made an appeal for putting a cap on personal income taxes
Yet another brought up the worker’s levy
For some netizens, high rental rates are a pressing issue
Others made a special appeal on behalf of the hospitality and food & beverage sectors
One man left a very direct comment
Others expressed concern over the upcoming rise in GST (Goods and Services Tax) from seven to nine percent, starting from next year.