SINGAPORE - Saving jobs and creating new ones will be the priority, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (May 26) after the announcement of a $33 billion Covid-19 support package to help keep the economy afloat.
"We will help businesses adapt and transform, create new jobs, and provide more training opportunities to workers," he added in a Facebook post, stressing that no one will be left behind as Singapore tackles the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.
This fourth package brings the total amount of support to $92.9 billion.
Said Mr Lee: "We will also support front-line agencies, households and communities, and help the needy and vulnerable."
He recounted how Singapore ran into a crisis barely two years after it became independent in 1965, when the British - who had supported Singapore's economy and defence - abruptly decided to pull out.
"Facing an uncertain future, our founding fathers were determined to secure the lives and livelihoods of our people," Mr Lee said. "We must have that same conviction today, as we deal with the crisis of our generation."
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry forecast that the economy will shrink by 7 per cent to 4 per cent, worse than the 4 per cent to 1 per cent contraction earlier predicted. This means Singapore is headed for its worst recession since independence.
At the same time, the country has built up its reserves over the years, Mr Lee said.
"The fiscal prudence and discipline of successive governments have put us in a strong position to overcome this crisis, and emerge stronger after the pandemic."
He noted that the circuit breaker will lift in less than a week, and thanked those who have stepped forward to help others.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the sacrifices that front-line workers have been making to help keep Singapore safe.
"Like our founding generation, we have the chance to chart bold new ways, and build a new Singapore," he wrote. "Let us stay united as we forge ahead together."