No new round of Covid-19 support tomorrow, says DPM Heng

Ministerial statement in Parliament will be on resource allocation for existing measures

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will not be unveiling a new round of support measures when he makes a ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow, but will speak about how resources will be allocated to fund the measures already announced.

He reiterated this in a Facebook post yesterday, as he noted the announcement about the ministerial statement had sparked questions about whether there would be a forthcoming round of measures.

In his post, Mr Heng said the main purpose of his statement will be to provide the context for the Supplementary Supply Bill that will be introduced in Parliament.

The third such Bill to be tabled this year, it will reallocate resources for the measures announced on Aug 17 to help tide businesses and workers over the economic disruption brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parliament will debate the Bill as well as these measures, which amount to about $8 billion.

Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, said yesterday: "At this stage of the crisis, my team and I are fully committed to support our workers and businesses by refining our policies, expanding outreach and improving implementation, to make the most of the $100 billion committed to the fight against Covid-19.

"We hope that businesses and workers can make the best use of the measures that have been committed."

On Friday, Mr Heng had met some small and medium-sized enterprises as well as union leaders and career coaches, with labour chief Ng Chee Meng.

Mr Heng said these meetings had "given us a better sense of the pain points of job seekers and businesses, opportunities for collaboration in the coming months, and new ideas that we can develop for Budget next year".

He added that the Government would work closely with businesses to help them stay viable and keep workers employed.

The Government has committed close to $100 billion over four Budgets and a further round of support in August, to help tide businesses, workers and households over the coronavirus crisis.

FULLY COMMITTED

At this stage of the crisis, my team and I are fully committed to support our workers and businesses by refining our policies, expanding outreach and improving implementation, to make the most of the $100 billion committed to the fight against Covid-19. We hope that businesses and workers can make the best use of the measures that have been committed.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance.

Among the key measures announced in August were adjustments to the Jobs Support Scheme, which was meant to help employers fund up to 75 per cent of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee, for 10 months up to August 2020.

The measures have extended wage support until March next year, tiered based on how quickly each sector is expected to recover.

In addition, the Covid-19 Support Grant, introduced in May to help Singaporeans who have been laid off or suffered significant income loss, was extended to December.

Mr Heng had said the measures would be funded by the reallocation of monies from other areas, such as development expenditures that were delayed due to Covid-19.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2020, with the headline 'No new round of support tomorrow, says DPM Heng'. Subscribe