President Halimah Yacob gives in-principle support to draw on past reserves a second time

Singaporean President Halimah Yacob. (Photo by Surya Fachrızal Aprianus/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – President Halimah Yacob has given her in-principle support for the government to draw on the country’s reserves for a fourth COVID-19 support package.

This is the second time past reserves are tapped for the government’s COVID-19 response, to help people and businesses cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

In a Facebook post on Monday (25 May), she said that Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Kiat and his team had briefed her and the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) last week on the proposed fourth budget.

She acknowledged that “this crisis is unprecedented and the situation remains volatile, with significant uncertainties in global economy”. Lives and livelihoods continue to be at stake, she said. “It is critical that we re-open safely, so economic activities will remain slow even as we try to restart them.”

The gradual economic recovery is a worldwide issue and countries will have to make adjustments to the way trade and business are conducted. To buffer local businesses and people from these challenges, and to save jobs, the government has to step in, the President added.

“Having deliberated and considered the recommendation of the CPA, I am satisfied that the fourth support package is necessary to ensure a safe transition to this new normal for Singapore. I have therefore given my in-principle support for the proposed measures to draw on the Government’s past reserves,” she said.

Heng, who is also Finance Minister, will be delivering his ministerial statement on the fourth budget in Parliament at 3.30pm, Tuesday.

He said in a Facebook post on Sunday that it will look at how to better support the social service sector.

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