Singapore plans third stimulus package to support economy

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A food store in Singapore has placed markers on select tables to separate diners as authorities implement tougher social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

Singapore announced on Monday a new stimulus package of 5.1 billion Singaporean dollars (3.6 billion dollars) to alleviate the economic damage caused by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

This is the third stimulus package that Singapore has announced since the epidemic. With the previous two packages, the Southeast Asian country has set aside $ 59.9 billion ($ 41.7 billion), which represents about 12% of the country’s gross domestic product.

The latest stimulus was planned to help businesses and households weather the coming month, during which tougher social distancing measures – which include school closings and temporary workplaces – will take effect from Tuesday.

The measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat are as follows:

  • Wage subsidy increases for all businesses in April
  • Derogations on rents and contributions of foreign workers for companies
  • Cash payment of 600 Singapore dollars ($ 417.70) each for all adult Singaporeans

The additional spending will bring the country’s annual budget deficit to 44.3 billion Singaporean dollars (30.8 billion dollars) or 8.9% of GDP, Heng said. The minister said the government would withdraw $ 4 billion from Singapore ($ 2.9 billion) from its reserves to finance the measures.

Singapore was one of the first countries outside of China to report cases of coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Its response to the epidemic is to quickly isolate confirmed and possible cases, as well as to locate those with whom they are in close contact – efforts that have been praised by experts worldwide, including those of the Organization. world health.

Despite these efforts, the Southeast Asian country on Sunday reported its biggest jump in a single day, adding 120 new infections to bring the toll to 1,309 cases with six deaths, according to the health ministry.

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