Singapore – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in a Facebook post on Friday (March 20), noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on both Singapore’s economy and that of the world.
Mr Heng, who had announced a S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package in his Budget Statement on Feb 18 to support workers and businesses affected by the outbreak, added that the fast-evolving and worsening situation called for more to be done.
Earlier this month, Mr Heng had announced that the Government was preparing a second stimulus package on top of the Stabilisation and Support Package.
Mr Heng wrote in his post that he had, together with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, met council members from the Singapore Business Federation and the trade associations and chambers to obtain a clearer understanding of the challenges different sectors are experiencing. They also discussed how a second support package could help companies retain their workers.
“We had a robust and substantive dialogue as they candidly shared their immediate and long-term concerns and challenges,” said Mr Heng. He shared that they covered many Cs in the discussion, such as cash flow, costs, capabilities and confidence, all of which would be taken into consideration in drafting the second package.
Mr Heng noted that the business leaders were especially concerned about the duration of the pandemic as it posed a challenge on long-term planning. “They hoped that the second support package would provide direct and immediate help to businesses,” he said.
“As Covid-19 will be here to stay till the end of the year, or longer, we have to ensure that our measures are sustainable, to weather the impact of a prolonged outbreak,” he said.
In response to Mr Heng’s post, there were suggestions on how to encourage the people to spend more in the shopping malls, on the role of landlords and on the need to pause mortgage and car instalment payments.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented impact on both Singapore’s and the world economy. I announced a $4…