SINGAPORE – In providing financial help, the Government’s approach is to provide short-term relief while supporting longer-term economic restructuring, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament on Monday (July 4).
“That means our fiscal support must continue to ensure the right incentives for businesses to build their capabilities, and become more energy efficient and productive,” he said.
Mr Wong said the latest $1.5 billion support package announced last month, combined with measures announced in February during this year’s Budget, together provide comprehensive support for both households and firms throughout 2022.
For instance, about 1.5 million lower- to middle-income Singaporeans will each get GST vouchers of up to $700 in August once the various support schemes are tallied up.
The $1.5 billion package has also taken into consideration Singapore’s latest economic and inflation outlook, Mr Wong added.
He was responding to MPs’ questions on whether the Government will provide additional subsidies and relief to households and businesses here in the light of rising inflation.
The Government had anticipated higher prices earlier this year and rolled out more support for Singaporeans in this year’s Budget, which included a Household Support Package and a Recovery Grant for small companies affected by Covid-19 restrictions, said Mr Wong.
This includes another two tranches of Community Development Council vouchers to be disbursed in the next two months, and about five months’ worth of utility rebates for households living in four-room HDB flats.
But the challenges ahead are not just about coping with higher prices, stressed Mr Wong.
“We must also adjust to major structural changes in our operating environment, including the threat of climate change as well as greater geopolitical contestation between the major powers,” he said.
“All this means that we are entering a more bifurcated, unpredictable and dangerous world.”
This means Singapore has to accelerate its efforts to restructure and transform itself in this new environment.
“In particular, we must decarbonise the economy, learn to manage with fewer manpower resources as our population ages, and strive for more inclusive growth in the years ahead,” said Mr Wong.