Forum: Govt's fiscal, economic strategies show foresight

Singaporeans' three pet peeves when it comes to questioning the Government's overall fiscal and economic strategies over the years have seemed to be:

• Why does Singapore need to maintain such high reserves? Shouldn't the Government slow down and share the fruits from the hard work of past generations?

• Why are there so many government-linked companies (GLCs)? They are crowding out smaller local companies and preventing them from gaining a foothold and developing.

• Why does the Government allow the National Trades Union Congress to venture into so many different businesses?

These questions have all seemed valid to different degrees.

But the Covid-19 crisis has shown that the Government has been wise and that these strategies have been very important in helping Singapore tackle the economic fallout and will likely position it well in the post-crisis recovery.

First, without sizeable reserves, or if the Government had not used the reserves wisely in the past, Singapore would not have been able to come up with three rescue packages totalling more than $60 billion within a few months, and pledging to do more if necessary.

Second, without the GLCs, the Government would not have as much leverage to get the relevant industries to support the various initiatives it has put together during the crisis to help smaller businesses and Singaporeans. These include the Temporary Bridging Loan programme and the Enterprise Financing Scheme.

Third, if not for FairPrice, we would likely have become short of some daily necessities and groceries, and prices for some supplies might have gone up significantly if the market had been left to natural market forces.

In hindsight, while the Government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis may not have been perfect in some areas, I think it deserves credit for doing a remarkable job so far, whether it has been in tackling the economy or directly addressing the health challenges brought about by the coronavirus.

More than ever, we need all Singaporeans to be united in fighting our common enemy. It is unfortunate that there are some residents who continue to disregard the circuit breaker rules or who complain about the inconvenience.

Many healthcare workers have made personal sacrifices to keep Singapore safe, and I urge all Singaporeans to do their small part to overcome the crisis together.

Luo Siao Ping