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S’pore to contribute S$27.7m to IMF for low-income countries coping with Covid-19, MPs show support

Singapore has a strong stake in ensuring the world contains the pandemic, says Ong Ye Kung

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Singapore – Parliamentarians supported Singapore’s US$20.57 million (S$27.7 million) contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) initiatives to help the vulnerable and low-income countries cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

During a parliamentary sitting on Monday (Apr 5), members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the aisle stood in support of the contribution.

The initiative was first announced on Mar 31 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is also an MAS board member, noted that the contributions would be divided among different schemes, with the majority going to the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).

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The CCRT was created in 2015 to provide debt relief to IMF’s poorest and most vulnerable members should a global health pandemic or natural catastrophe occur, said Mr Ong. He was speaking on behalf of Senior Minister and MAS chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Mr Ong explained that Singapore’s contribution is “based on our quota share at the IMF and similar to how other countries’ contributions are determined”.

Furthermore, a one-off contribution of US$2 million, representing about two per cent of the required US$100 million, will be given to the Covid-19 Crisis Capacity Development Initiative (CCCDI), an initiative established to meet the urgent capacity development needs of countries affected by the pandemic.

A third grant of US$970,000 will be given to the Trust for Special Poverty Reduction and Growth Operations for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (PRG-HIPC Trust) for Somalia’s debt relief. The contribution would account for about 0.3 per cent of the total US$344 million IMF package for Somalia.

The contributions are being made because the Covid-19 pandemic has “underscored the need for decisive and urgent collective actions to manage a global crisis”, said Mr Ong.

“As a highly open economy, Singapore has a strong stake in ensuring that the world contains the pandemic, restores people-to-people connections across the world, and supports global economic recovery.”

“In short, we live in an interdependent world, and Singapore needs to do our part,” Mr Ong added.

Three MPs — Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC), Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang SMC) and Mariam Jafaar (Sembawang GRC) — stood in support of the initiative.

Assoc Prof Lim compared the contribution to the foreign aid Singapore receives and said, “If anything, we are not doing enough.”

Mr Ong highlighted the somewhat “disappointing” response from some members of the online community when MAS announced the initiative.

“I am glad that all the MPs that stood up and spoke supported this contribution… it shows that as a small country we can also be big-hearted, and we can also play our role… and share our concerns for the future of humanity,” said Mr Ong./TISG

Read related: MAS Chief: As much as 20% of Singapore’s economy faces ‘deep scarring’ from pandemic

MAS Chief: As much as 20% of Singapore’s economy faces ‘deep scarring’ from pandemic

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