When reading about the coronavirus, you’re probably hoping for something positive like: “Covid-19 to Vanish Completely Next Month”, or “Covid-19 Vaccine Developed, Will Be Administered via Bubble Tea”.
Instead, we’re told about how the virus is going to be around for a long time, how leisure travel is still a long way away, and how more people are going to lose their jobs.
And today, it’s more of the same, unfortunately.
Tharman: COVID-19 Might Lead to a Wipeout of Many SMEs
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic may lead to a “wipeout” of many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a significant number of them have already crumbled during the crisis.
Tharman was speaking at the Singapore Summit, an annual forum where leaders from various countries come together to discuss current affairs in business, finance and geopolitics, according to TODAY.
On the impact of the coronavirus, the senior minister said the SME economy is in critical danger of collapsing in most countries if the authorities do not take action.
“If we don’t address that challenge forthright, there is a real risk of a wipeout of a significant number of SMEs,” he said.
He added that the Singapore government aims to prevent this from happening through fiscal and industry upgrading strategies, and small industry transformation maps.
As Tharman noted, SMEs are the backbone of any economy.
“SMEs are not just part of an economy, they are part of a society,”, he said.
Singapore Needs to Stay Open to Foreign Investments
One of the ways the country can grow its economy is by remaining open to foreign investments.
As the minister pointed out, this will benefit Singaporeans in the long run.
“If we are a middling business centre or if we think we can get growth out of a domestic economy, not only will we not be able to grow opportunities, but more Singaporeans will leave the place… So it’s clearly not an option.”
The country also needs to be open to foreign workers coming in, he said, to help Singapore remain competitive and successful as an economic hub.
He added, however, that the country will not be “blindly open” to foreigners, as it would not be “socially or politically sustainable”.
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In other words, if we want to save our battered economy from Covid-19, we’re going to need some help.
“Covid-19 Will Still Be Around a Year From Now”
Remember what I said about depressing predictions? Well, I have one more for you.
Tharman believes that despite all our hopes and wishes, the coronavirus will still be around a year from now.
But he thinks that countries will be in a better position to handle the pandemic then.
Cheaper and quicker testing methods will be available, for one. And Tharman believes residents will better understand the need for isolation and safe distancing by then.
That could happen, right? Singaporeans are already practising safe dist-
Ok, we’re doomed.
He added that we might also have a vaccine readily available by then “if we are lucky”.
It would be a “huge challenge”, however, to manufacture and distribute it at a scale large enough to make it accessible to all affected countries, he said.
One day, dear reader, I hope to bring you an article about Covid-19 that won’t make you feel like drowning your sorrows in 10 cups of bubble tea.
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for that to happen.
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