Last week, when it was announced that DPM Heng Swee Keat, aka 财神爷 to some, is giving a ministerial speech on 26 May 2020, it wasn’t revealed that it was a budget—instead, we were told that it was a plan to move forward in our uncertain future.
A layman like me would only have one question: would money be given? Would it be given to individuals like us? How much are we getting? Would bubble tea shops finally open?
Well, today, we get to know that money is definitely going to be given, though it’s uncertain whether it’s only for businesses or to individuals as well.
Tomorrow’s Budget is Called Fortitude Budget & Ah Gong is Giving Money Again
In a very well-timed series of updates, President Halimah Yacob posted a Facebook post at 5pm today, telling us that she has given her “in-principle support for the proposed measures to draw on the Government’s past reserves” after DPM Heng and his team of ministers proposed a fourth support package for Singaporeans.
If this is confusing, just think of it this way: the Government wants to give us money but they have to get the money somewhere. So they look for President Halimah to tap on the reserves, who “signs the cheque” for the reserves.
You can read more about Singapore’s past reserves here.
The past reserves have been used for COVID-19 support packages before: up to $21 billion has been drawn for the last two support packages.
So far, Singapore has given three support packages:
- Unity Budget on 18 February that cost the Government $6.4 billion
- Resilience Budget on 26 March that cost the Government $48.4 billion
- Solidarity Budget on 6 April that cost the Government $5.1 billion
Another $3.8 billion was used when Circuit Breaker was extended for a month.
This means a totality of $63.7 billion has been spent so far.
And now that Phase One is just like Circuit Breaker?
Well, 29 minutes after President Halimah’s Facebook post, DPM Heng, who’s also the Finance Minister and possibly our Prime Minister in a parallel universe that doesn’t have COVID-19, updated us about the budget with his own Facebook post.
DPM Heng has named the next budget Fortitude Budget.
Lest you’re not aware, “fortitude” means “courage in pain or adversity”, and it has nothing to do with a certain popular game.
The name was chosen because we need to “have courage in adversity, to adapt and to emerge stronger, just like our founding generation.”
According to DPM Heng, jobs would be a key part, as the authorities aim to “turn anxiety into action”.
They will be “creating new jobs for those who are seeking employment” and “traineeships and other opportunities for those completing their post-secondary education this year.”
Additional support will also be available for the social sector agencies.
DPM Heng ended with a tagline that includes the names of all his budgets:
“Moving forward with Fortitude — as we stay United as one people, remain Resilient in the face of adversity and stand in Solidarity with one another.”
And here I am, thinking that the authorities have given up on having fancy names after they named the post Circuit Breaker period as “Phase One”.
DPM Heng will be giving his speech tomorrow (26 May 2020) at 3:30pm, and you can watch his speech…just about everywhere lah.
(Update on 26 May 2020, 6pm)
You can read about the budget here:
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