Singapore unveils $33.17 billion economic package to tide through coronavirus crisis

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Published: March 26, 2020 6:23:53 PM

Singapore has so far reported 631 COVID-19 cases, including two deaths.  The global death toll from COVID-19 soared to over 21,000 and over three billion people were locked down in their homes, triggering a massive financial shock worldwide.

A view of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s headquarters (File Image: Reuters)

Singapore on Thursday unveiled a “landmark” package of SGD 48.4 billion (USD 33.17 billion) to support its workers and businesses as the country stepped up measures to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stimulus is in addition to the SGD 6.4 billion (USD 4.4 billion) announced in its Budget last month to tide through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The two support packages amount to 11 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  “This is a landmark package and necessary response to a unique situation,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat told Parliament while unveiling the stimulus.

To fund this supplementary budget, the government will draw up to SGD 17 billion (USD 1,18,15,442) from Singapore’s reserves, Heng said. President Halimah Yacob has given her in-principle approval for drawing the reserves. Heng said the coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis, an economic shock and a social test — all rolled into one.

“It is an unprecedented crisis of a highly complex nature. The global shocks from coronavirus will deeply impact Singapore’s open economy, which could see its worst economic contraction since independence,” he said. According to preliminary official data, the Singapore economy is shrinking 2.2 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter.
“This extraordinary situation calls for extraordinary measures,” Heng said, adding that more than one-third of the “resilience budget” is dedicated to saving jobs and supporting workers.

Singapore has so far reported 631 COVID-19 cases, including two deaths.  The global death toll from COVID-19 soared to over 21,000 and over three billion people were locked down in their homes, triggering a massive financial shock worldwide. On Wednesday, financial ratings agency Moody’s estimated the US economy shrinking by 2.0 per cent and the eurozone by 2.2 per cent.

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