Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing has thanked Singaporeans for abiding by the ongoing circuit breaker measures while warning citizens against being complacent about a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections, as the nation prepares to exit the two-month long lockdown.
Mr Chan, who also serves as the second assistant secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), wrote on Facebook yesterday (26 May): “I would like to thank all Singaporeans for complying with the circuit breaker measures over the past two months.
“We are well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 threat, but we cannot be complacent. As more workers return to work next week, we must continue to remain vigilant, adhere to safe management measures onsite, and practice good personal hygiene. I am confident that our resilience as a society will put us in good stead to emerge stronger together as one people.”
Mr Chan’s comments came hours after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced an additional S$33 billion COVID-19 support package in Parliament. Dubbed the Fortitude Budget, this is the fourth such package Singapore has unveiled since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
Commenting on how the latest support package will help businesses and workers in the same Facebook post, Mr Chan said:
“As our businesses, workers and households continue to cope with the unprecedented economic fallout from COVID-19, the Government will extend further support through the $33 billion Fortitude Budget.
“This is the fourth Budget introduced in these extraordinary times. It is also the second time we are drawing on our Past Reserves in this financial year to ensure that we can respond decisively and comprehensively to the situation at hand. Together with the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, we have dedicated close to $100 billion to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our society and economy.
“Support measures have been introduced and enhanced for businesses in the 3 Cs – cash flow, costs, and credit. To help our businesses manage their cash flow, we have put in place and enhanced various financing schemes, such as the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enterprise Financing Scheme, in the earlier Budgets this year. These schemes have catalysed $4.5 billion of loans so far, benefitting 5,000 businesses. This is also triple the amount of loans catalysed for the entire 2019.
“The Government is closely monitoring the effectiveness of the support measures implemented so far to ensure that our SMEs get sufficient support. Government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore as well as the business advisors in our SME Centres have been working closely with companies to understand their unique business needs, and to guide them to the right financing sources such as banks and financial institutions that are able to structure different loan products for the company.
“Even as we overcome the short-term challenges, we must also do what we can to remain competitive and relevant for the long run. Besides bolstering jobs, the Government will continue to partner our unions and TACs to support our businesses and workers in transformation and upskilling efforts, so that they can seize new opportunities amid the adversity.”
As our businesses, workers and households continue to cope with the unprecedented economic fallout from COVID-19, the…
Ruling party politicians Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong have also made comments backing the Fortitude Budget.
Mr Wong – who serves as the co-chair of the Government’s multi-ministry task force on COVID-19 – spoke about how COVID-19 is a challenge for this generation and how Singapore can overcome it if it has the fortitude to persevere.
Mr Lee recalled the leadership of Singapore’s founding fathers in times of crisis as he spoke about the latest Covid-19 support package. Pointing out that Singapore faces an unprecedented health crisis and the worst financial recession in its history as an independent nation, Mr Lee asserted that the Government must have “the same conviction” that their predecessors did as they forge ahead.
Read DPM Heng’s Fortitude Budget speech in full here:
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