Singapore, on Tuesday announced its 2020 budget, pledging 5.6 billion Singapore dollars (or 4.02 billion U.S. dollars) to assist businesses and households affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak.
Finance Minister Heng Keat announced the measures in Singapore’s parliament, saying another 800 million Singapore dollars would be allocated to support frontline agencies fighting coronavirus in the city-state, where 77 cases had been confirmed.
Keat warned that the outbreak would certainly impact the country’s economy, adding that inbound tourism and air traffic had already dropped as Chinese outbound tourism plummets.
Singapore Airlines announced on Tuesday that it was temporarily reducing flights due to weak demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Keat said that venues hosting conferences would get a property tax rebate of 30 per cent, while Changi Airport, one of the world’s busiest, will get a 15-per-cent rebate.
“A proposed increase to the goods and services tax will be put on hold until 2021,“ he said.
He noted that the outbreak of the virus had forced factories across China to close temporarily, which seriously disrupted supply chains.
“Singapore’s economy is more integrated with China, compared with during the 2008-9 global financial crisis.”
The Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry warned that 2020 economic growth could be minus 0.5 per cent, while on Feb. 14, Prime Minister Lee Loong, said that a recession was possible in 2020.
Keat warned that the duration and severity of the outbreak was still unclear, so, the economic impact might be worse than expected.