The Government will announce an unprecedented third round of support measures to help tide Singapore through the one month of Covid-19 “circuit breaker” distancing measures, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said the measures to support workers, businesses and households will be announced when Parliament sits this afternoon.
To be called the Solidarity Budget, the supplementary measures mark the first time in history that the Government has released three Budget statements in less than two months while tapping Singapore’s reserves, and come as enhanced measures to break the chain of virus transmission take effect this week that will result in all schools and most workplaces closing.
Mr Heng said the Covid-19 situation has taken a very sharp turn, both globally and locally, and strong measures have to be taken to protect lives. But the economy has taken a hit as a result.
“We must remain steadfast in the face of crisis, and stand in solidarity with one another during these difficult times,” he said. “I am therefore naming this set of measures to tide us through the ‘circuit breaker’ the Solidarity Budget.”
The new set of measures follows a nearly $55 billion package from the Feb 18 Unity Budget and March 26 Resilience Budget aimed at protecting jobs, helping enterprises with immediate challenges, and strengthening economic and social resilience so Singapore can emerge intact and stronger.
“Unity, Resilience, Solidarity – these values will come to define who we are as a people,” said Mr Heng, who called the fight against Covid-19 the defining chapter of this generation.
“The bonds that bind us together will be forged and renewed in this crisis, much as how the turbulent years of Independence brought our founding generation together.”
He thanked earlier generations of Singaporeans who saved up and built strong foundations for the country, giving the Government the wherewithal to dip into the country’s savings so as to protect people and their jobs.
“When the storm eventually subsides, as all storms do, I am confident that as a stronger society, we can build an even better future for our children and our grandchildren,” he wrote on Facebook.
Mr Heng will deliver his ministerial statement at 2pm today, the Ministry of Finance said.
The speech will be broadcast live on various platforms, and will also be published on the Singapore Budget website after it is delivered.
Parliament will also resume its debate on the Resilience Budget that Mr Heng delivered on March 26.
He will then round up the debate tomorrow.