In a Facebook post on Wednesday (11 March), President Halimah Yacob said that Singapore may consider using its “past reserves” to help combat the economic impact of COVID-19.
In the post, President Halimah started off by mentioning that the current situation of COVID-19 is a lot worse than what it was when Budget 2020 was debated in Parliament.
“Since the FY 2020 Budget was last debated in Parliament, the situation has worsened with the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly to many more countries, including Europe and the US,” she wrote.
She added, “Health experts around the world have warned that it will take many more months before the virus will run its course, with devastating consequences on people and economies. The crashing oil prices seriously aggravated the situation.”
As expected, she said this had badly impacted Singapore’s businesses as well, especially the tourism industry.
“Many of our companies, particularly those related to the tourism industry, but more broadly other sectors as well, are bleeding because of disrupted supply chains, rapidly falling demand and tightening cash flows. Fear and loss of confidence have gripped the financial markets around the world,” she noted.
Given this situation, the President pointed out that “we must do our utmost to support our people and our business”, and one way of doing so is to even consider using Singapore’s reserves if necessary.
“If our public health is at stake and our people’s welfare affected, we need to do the necessary. The Govt has been keeping me and the CPA updated and we are monitoring the situation closely,” President Halimah expressed.
“In the meantime, let’s continue to do our best to fight COVID-19 and support each other,” she added.
The President of the country has the power to approve the use of Singapore’s reserves, and she has now voiced out her openness to using the reserves to support the people and businesses if it’s deemed necessary.