SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s 5th set of COVID-19 Budget measures which were announced via television broadcast are still subject to parliamentary scrutiny, said Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah on Monday (24 August).
In a Facebook post, Rajah said the ministerial statement was made “to give businesses and workers clarity on the Government’s plans to support them before the opening of Parliament”.
“The Jobs Support Scheme’s coverage will end in August and many jobs are at stake if there is no clarity on Government’s plan,” said Indranee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for National Development.
Members of Parliament and the public should also be given enough time to consider the measures ahead of the opening of Parliament, she added.
Singapore’s 14th Parliament opens on Monday evening with the President’s Address, following which MPs will debate the speech next Monday (31 August).
Rajah said, “If we deliver the Ministerial Statement on 31 August itself, MPs won’t have enough time to reflect on the measures before the debate. Also, with the President’s Address being delivered on 24 August there will be a lot of substantive things for MPs and the public to consider between 24 and 31 August.
“So the best option was to deliver the Ministerial Statement via broadcast before Parliament opened, as we did on last Monday. That gives both MPs and the public enough time to absorb the contents before Parliament sits,” she added.
The 5th set of measures will not draw on past reserves but instead be funded via reallocated monies from previously approved budgets for deferred or re-prioritised items.
In her post, Rajah also said that the government will seek Parliament’s approval in the coming months for its revised spending plans to give effect to the measures in the latest Ministerial Statement.
“This will be done through a Supplementary Supply Bill which must go through the usual 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings and be passed by Parliament and assented to by the President,” she said.
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