Singapore – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, will be making a Ministerial Statement next Monday (August 17) regarding continued support for workers and businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He also admitted that the country would likely see more job losses and retrenchments in the coming months due to the crisis.
Mr Heng took to Facebook on Friday (August 14) to provide an assessment of how the island-nation is faring against Covid-19. He mentioned that the pandemic continues unabated in many parts of the world, with the total number of cases tripling to 20 million since May. “The global economy has taken a very severe hit, and the situation could get worse,” he noted.
Locally, Singapore has experienced the worst quarterly GDP (Gross Domestic Product) performance on record for the second quarter, said Mr Heng. Despite the significant support for workers and businesses amounting to almost S$100 billion over the last four Budgets, and more than half coming from past reserves, Mr Heng admitted that due to the global economic and health crisis, “we are likely to see more job losses and retrenchments in the coming months.” It will be many more months before the economy fully recovers, he said, adding that even then, it would not be back to business as usual.
“As we gradually re-open our economy, the recovery across industries is likely to be uneven and uncertain. Many sectors are gradually regaining their footing as economic activities resume,” said Mr Heng. While a few sectors are growing and even hiring, several others have been hit hard and are unlikely to recover for some years to come, he noted.
Mr Heng said he had received feedback and concerns from the public over the past few weeks, “weighing on their minds was also the uncertainty ahead, given that some of the support schemes are expiring.” He confirmed that the Ministerial Statement on Monday would disclose more details on extended support, with a focus on the hardest-hit sectors. “We are committed to walk this difficult journey with you. Together, we can overcome this crisis and emerge stronger as one people,” he said.
Members from the online community coming from different sectors such as retail, seniors taking care aged parents, and affected PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians), expressed their concerns to Mr Heng by commenting on the post. Many hoped that they too would be given support to tide through the crisis.
I will be making a Ministerial Statement next Monday on how we will continue our support for workers and businesses…