Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the best response to the Covid-19 pandemic is to build up resilience in the economy and society.
This is what the two additional support packages – a record-breaking S$48 billion Resilience Budget and the newly announced S$5.1 billion Solidarity Budget – aim to do, he added.
In rounding up the debate on the Supplementary Budget, DPM Heng explained that the Government builds resilience in our economy by ensuring that viable businesses are not permanently damaged but instead, are able to preserve their capabilities to recover.
Through these two support packages, businesses get help with costs, cash flow and credit. As for our society, he added that the Government supports our people by saving jobs, providing cash support and easing their cash flow needs.
To help firms stay viable, the Government has announced support measures such as the new Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), scrapping of property tax for those in harder-hit sectors and others.
Mr Heng urged firms to tap on these relief measures to keep things going as they do a stock-take and adjust for what could be a prolonged downturn ahead.
“I urge businesses to take a longer-term view – retain and upskill your workers to accelerate their transformation for the future economy.”
As to how to ensure that employers that receive the wage support continue to hire workers, he said by design of the scheme, employers who reduce wages or put their employees on no-pay leave during this period will have their payouts reduced correspondingly.
For workers, Mr Heng said the best form of support is continued employment, both in the immediate and long-term.
Mr Heng said the Government seeks “holistic, integrated support” for the economy, while keeping an eye on the long term to “emerge stronger once the economy recovers.”