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DPM Heng to announce supplementary budget on Thursday

DPM Heng to announce supplementary budget on Thursday

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 24 Mar 2020
Author: Yuen Sin

Experts expect this package to be a hefty one, with some saying that it could be more than double the initial $6.4 billion set aside last month to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will present a supplementary budget in Parliament on Thursday and set out a second stimulus package to help workers, businesses and households cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Facebook post yesterday, he noted that the move comes just five weeks after he announced the Budget on Feb 18, which included a $4 billion package to help workers and firms affected by the outbreak.

This reflects how fast the coronavirus situation has deteriorated over the past weeks, said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

To date, Covid-19 has infected more than 343,000 people worldwide and killed more than 14,900.

Singapore has taken the unprecedented step of barring all short-term visitors, including tourists.

The world, Mr Heng said, faces "a global pandemic, an economic shock and a test of the financial systems all rolled into one".

The outbreak has taken a big toll on the economy, with many jobs and livelihoods at stake, he noted.

"We will meet this challenge head-on," he said.

"This is a budget to support Singaporeans to stay united and resilient.

"We will keep you safe, preserve jobs and livelihoods, as well as help viable enterprises stay strong."

He noted that yesterday was the fifth death anniversary of Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, which prompted him to reflect on how a nation that came of age under Mr Lee's leadership would deal with Covid-19.

While Singapore has never faced a situation like this in its history, Singaporeans have been through many crises before, Mr Heng said.

"In our early years of nationhood, Mr Lee told us, 'Never fear!'. We did not, and we came together as a united nation. This spirit of staying strong and united... will see us through these difficult times."

The House is expected to debate the supplementary budget at a subsequent Parliament sitting about a week later, on April 6.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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