DPM Heng's ministerial statement to provide advance info on Covid-19 support measures before Parliament opens: Indranee Rajah

SINGAPORE – Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s ministerial statement next Monday (Aug 17) will allow Singaporeans to know if there will be any additional Covid-19 government support measures, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah.

This comes as some support measures are ending soon, and ahead of Parliament opening on Aug 24.

During a virtual interview on Saturday, Ms Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Finance and National Development, said that a number of measures announced during the four successive Budgets from February to May will be ending soon.

These include the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) of wage subsidies, foreign worker levy waivers, and financial assistance for the self-employed under the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs).

The final payouts for the JSS and Sirs, for example, are in October unless the schemes are extended.

“It’s always good when things are ending off, to let people know in advance if there are any other measures that would be either supplementing or adding on to that,” she said.

“Given the current economic situation, we think that it’s important to let people know in time.”

The formal opening of the Parliament session is usually marked by the President’s address. This usually discusses longer-term issues and the Government’s agenda for the rest of the term.

“So it’s helpful to have a ministerial statement which focuses on the day-to-day and some of the immediate things,” said Ms Indranee.

On Friday, DPM Heng said that he would make a statement next Monday, on how the Government will continue to support workers and businesses even as aid schemes are due to expire while the Covid-19 pandemic drags on.

He will deliver the statement at 3.30pm via a broadcast carried on The Straits Times website, CNA, CNA938 and Mediacorp MeWatch.

The statement comes amid a deepening recession, with gross domestic product shrinking by 6.7 per cent in the first half of the year. The Ministry of Trade and Industry now predicts GDP will decline by 5 per cent to 7 per cent this year, compared with the previous range forecast of minus 4 per cent to minus 7 per cent.

In the second quarter, the economy contracted by 13.2 per cent year on year, sharper than the 12.6 per cent plunge earlier estimated and the worst on record.

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