Singapore

Funds for Covid-19 aid to come from delayed development projects: DPM

Singapore has no plans to dig further into its national reserves for another $8 billion that is needed to continue the country's battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, the extra expenditure will come out of the coffers of development projects that are being delayed because of the pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday in a ministerial statement.

CONSTRUCTION SECTOR

Delays in major construction projects because of the circuit breaker and the need to ensure a safe reopening of the construction sector subsequently have shrunk Singapore's 2020 development expenditure by an estimated $6.9 billion, the Finance Ministry (MOF) said in an annex to Mr Heng's statement.

Likewise, Singapore's operating expenses are set to decline as well by an estimated $1.5 billion.

The drop is mainly due to lower military expenditure because of pandemic-related delays in projects and the cancellation or deferment of exercises.

Another reason is lower manpower costs as civil servants did not get the usual mid-year bonus this year, said MOF.

Yesterday's announcement of the additional $8 billion needed is on top of the nearly $100 billion from the earlier four 2020 Budgets unveiled between February and May to tackle the evolving Covid-19 crisis.

The latest aid is for the expanded measures to save jobs, create new ones and help Singapore seize new opportunities for growth in a post-coronavirus world.

"I have briefed the President and the Council of Presidential Advisers on the latest situation and the need for these measures," said Mr Heng, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Finance Minister.

"I thank them for their earlier support and approval for the use of past reserves to respond to the crisis, which has put us on a strong footing to manage the evolving situation." - THE STRAITS TIMES

coronavirus