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Resilience Budget: S$48.4b in support measures; govt may draw up to S$17b from reserves

SINGAPORE will roll out S$48.4 billion in additional support measures amid the coronavirus outbreak under a supplementary budget.

The Resilience Budget focuses on three key areas: saving jobs, supporting workers and protecting livelihoods; helping enterprises overcome immediate challenges; and strengthening economic and social resilience.

To fund some of these measures, the government has sought and obtained the President’s in-principle support to draw up to S$17 billion from the country’s past reserves, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Thursday.

Alongside the S$6.4 billion in measures announced as part of Budget 2020 on Feb 18, the government is “dedicating close to S$55 billion to support our people in this battle, amounting to 11 per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product)”, Mr Heng said.

The coronavirus outbreak has thrust Singapore into an unprecedented and complex crisis. “This will likely be the worst economic contraction since independence,” Mr Heng added.

On Thursday morning, the Ministry of Trade and Industry downgraded Singapore's official growth forecast to between -4 per cent and -1 per cent.