Singapore’s financial position will be ‘a lot weaker’ in coming years, says Deputy PM

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Singapore’s financial position will be “a lot weaker in the coming years”, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has said as the city-state on Thursday recorded 373 new COVID-19 cases among foreign workers while for the first time since February 23 there were no new cases among Singaporeans or permanent residents.

Singapore’s tally of infections now stands at 33,249 and majority of them are foreign workers holding work permit and residing in dormitories, the Health Ministry said in its preliminary daily update.

Of the 343 new cases reported on Thursday there were no new cases among Singapore citizens or permanent residents (foreigners), the ministry said.

This is the first time since February 23 that there were no new cases among Singaporeans or permanent residents, the Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

As of Wednesday, Singapore had 525 coronavirus patients in hospital, 15,052 in isolation for mild symptoms and 23 deaths.

The ministry said 17,276 patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng, who is also the finance minister, in an interview with CNA said that the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic meant Singapore’s financial position would be “a lot weaker in the coming years”.

However, he said the government will continue to find ways to manage this “difficult financial situation” and reiterated the need to keep people safe.

I will address the issue of how we are going to ensure that we continue to have the fiscal power to keep Singapore safe, not just in this one year, two years, but for the long term and I will address Parliament on this issue later, Heng was quoted as saying.

“But for now, I think the most important thing is, first, keep our people safe and second, let’s get the economy going again, as much as possible,” Heng said.

Heng announced that the government would draw SGD 31 billion from past reserves to fund the Fortitude Budget, worth SGD 33 billion, the CNA reported.

The government on Tuesday unveiled its fourth Budget this year worth SGD 33 billion as Singapore gears up for the end of its “circuit breaker” period next week.

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