Singapore: Budget will include ‘strong’ coronavirus support package

  • Singapore will roll out a “strong” economic package next week as part of its national Budget to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, with the impact on the trade-reliant economy seen as worse than during the 2003 Sars pandemic.
  • The increased economic threat stems from several reasons, such as China’s economy being much bigger today as well as being more consumption- and service-oriented, said Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force set up to coordinate Singapore’s response.
  • Mr Wong declined to reveal the size of the package or whether it will be bigger than the SGD230mn SARS relief package rolled out during the 2003 crisis.
  • The SARS relief package contained property tax rebates and a bridging loan programme for small and medium-sized firms to help them with short-term cash-flow problems. “We are preparing for a strong package in the coming budget to help our companies as well as to help workers stay in their jobs,” Mr Wong added.
  • Mr Wong said beyond specific sectors like tourism and hospitality that have already weakened, the broader knock-on effect could be “quite severe.“
  • Singapore is already bracing for its economy to be hit harder by the coronavirus than Sars. It is expecting as much as a 30% drop in tourist arrivals and spending in 2020.
  • Singapore currently has 47 confirmed cases of the virus disease, now named Covid-19, one of the largest number of infections outside of China.

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