Budget 2020 will be laid down to provide support for firms and workers as well as households in tackling with the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat who delivered a message on Sunday (16 February) said that government will introduce broad-based measures including wage support, tax rebates and rental waivers to help companies and economic sectors amid thecoronavirus crisis.
He mentioned that company facing cash flow issues will be aided through tax rebates and rental waivers which is set to be unveiled on Tuesday (17 Feb).
Not forgetting the industries that took a harder hit from the virus outbreak such as Food and Beverage and Retails, Mr Heng said that government support will be provided to those sectors as well.
Meanwhile the government will provide support in restructuring, training and upgrading firms and workers to help them emerge stronger for the eventual upturn, said Finance Minister.
Mr Heng also addressed the concerns of household due to the coronavirus, saying that a package to assist households with cost of living will also be introduced in the budget.
Speaking on the economic impact over coronavirus outbreak, Mr Heng acknowledged that business and consumers have reduced spending as confidences were affected.
He said that the trade and manufacturing industries have been impacted as a result from disruption of China’s production to global supply chain.
On top of this, Mr Heng highlighted, “Government will do all that is necessary to get workers and companies hit hard by global health crisis back on their feet” and assured that Singaporeans will rebound from this crisis.
Moving on to the government’s response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Mr Heng said in his message that the new capabilities have been mobilised such as setting up the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and better healthcare infrastructure as a part of efforts to deal with the situation.
He highlighted the importance of strong capabilities of research and development in mounting an effective response against the outbreak.
Through government’s investment in research and development, especially in health and biomedical sciences, Mr Heng said that local researchers have recently developed a new diagnostic kit for screening suspected cases.
The global collaboration between local research community and international community have been implemented as Mr Heng cited that the test kits were contributed for 20,000 tests in China to helping them through this tough period.
Apart from the government measures, Mr Heng also urged Singaporeans to strengthen the social and psychological resilience against the outbreak.
The public are advised to observe good personal hygiene, stay updated on the situation from credible sources, be socially responsible by seeing a doctor and staying home if feeling unwell and not panic buying or spread rumours.