DPM Heng: S’pore Financial Position Will Be a Lot Weaker in the Coming Years Due to COVID-19

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When it comes to survival, at least on the monetary front, Singapore has a simple mindset: Save for rainy days.

This is why, every year, some of the budget surpluses are stored in Singapore’s financial reserves instead of being given out to people in Singapore as “candies”.

While we normally complain about this, we might start to think differently this year.

Total Of $52 Billion Drawn From Past Reserves For FY2020

Covid-19 has been painful for not just our health but our wallets too.

The global economy came to a crashing halt; airlines are declaring bankruptcy and in Singapore, businesses are folding as the circuit breaker continues.

To try and sustain the Singapore economy through these hard times, the Singapore government injected money through four different budgets, all announced within the span of months.

On 27 May, DPM Heng Swee Keat, also the man behind the budget statements, said that “Singapore’s financial position will be a lot weaker in the coming years”.

In total, S$52 billion will be drawn from past reserves to help battle against the economic repercussions of Covid-19.

The government, he says, have a “huge task” ahead of them right now, trying to make the best possible use of every single dollar taken from the past reserves.

Keeping Our People Safe

If you’ve always felt that Singapore is run like a gigantic organisation and that profits are the most important, you’ll be glad to know that when it comes to people’s safety against economic performance, the people come first.

DPM Heng said:

“But for now, I think the most important thing is, first, keep our people safe and second, let’s get the economy going again, as much as possible.”

He added that it won’t be easy, but once we overcome this ordeal, we’ll emerge from it stronger than ever.

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Would We See A Fifth Budget?

Is Singapore running out of names (or money) for another budget?

Well, this, we’ll have to see, according to DPM Heng.

He said that whether there’ll be a fifth supplementary budget or not depends on the situation and whether previous injections of funds are sufficient.

“After presenting four Budgets within such a short period of time, I will say that ‘never say never’.”

However, he did add that the fourth supplementary budget, the Fortitude Budget, is designed to let “everyone who wants to learn something, everyone who wants to do something, to be able to do so”.


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In other words, just as we said, the fourth supplementary budget isn’t here to give you money. It’s here to give you the chance to work for money.

While DPM Heng is uncertain about whether he’ll need to give a fifth supplementary budget, he did say that he hoped it wouldn’t happen.

Not because he’s stingy, but the fact that if there’s a need for a fifth supplementary budget, it means that the situation has “deteriorated” even more.

100,000 Isn’t The Expected Number Of Job Losses

When asked why the government prepared 100,000 jobs, traineeships and skills learning programmes under the SGUnited Job And Skills Package, and whether it reflects what the government thinks will be the number of jobs lost during Covid-19, DPM Heng says it’s not.

It’s the projection of expected job losses and the number of new entrants into the labour market.

He believes that the number should be sufficient, at least for now.


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What’s Next?

After Covid-19 is the uphill task of rebuilding our fiscal position and ensure that Singapore can survive the next twenty years.

Reader Bao: Like what? Preparing for a bigger GST Hike?

Well, there’s nothing concrete yet but he will be addressing that issue in parliament at a later date.

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