SINGAPORE - Mr Lawrence Wong is already a familiar face to many Singaporeans, given his frequent appearances as co-chairman of the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic.
But on Friday (Feb 18), Mr Wong will put on a different hat as Finance Minister as he delivers his first Budget statement, one which is expected to include measures to put Singapore on a surer footing for the post-pandemic future.
"As I made my final edits to the Budget statement, I recalled how Covid-19 has changed and impacted the way we live - our working lifestyle, jobs, social fabric, and most importantly, health," Mr Wong said in a Facebook post on Thursday evening.
The theme of Budget 2022 - Charting Our New Way Forward Together - aims to give Singaporeans confidence to embrace the journey forward, he added.
"This Budget is for our people, our families, and our future generations," Mr Wong said. "It will set out how we can better position Singapore for future challenges and opportunities, and strengthen our social compact."
Apart from laying out the Government's plans to take Singapore forward, this year's Budget is likely to also include continued support for sectors still under stress, such as aviation and tourism.
Singaporeans can also expect him to give details on the much talked-about goods and services tax (GST) hike, first announced in 2018 by his predecessor, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Mr Wong was appointed Finance Minister in May last year, following a Cabinet reshuffle. He was previously second minister for finance between 2016 and 2021, and has held the positions of minister for education and national development, among others in the Cabinet.
Amid all this uncertainty and change surrounding the Budget, there is at least one thing that has stayed the same in the past 40 years: the legendary pre-Budget porridge dinner cooked by executive assistant Ng Mei Jok, or Auntie Mei Jok, for the Finance Minister and his staff.
Mr Wong, whose career as a civil servant prior to entering politics included a stint at the Finance Ministry, remembers the simple meal well.
"I fondly remember eating this porridge as a young officer working on the Budget many years ago," he wrote in a separate post earlier this week. "And now our team will have this same porridge before #SGBudget2022!"