SINGAPORE – The government will set aside an additional $13 billion in the Contingencies Funds, which is specifically for urgent and unforeseen expenditure needs.
This is on top of the total $3 billion that is usually set aside each year in the Contingencies Fund and Development Contingencies Fund.
Announcing this in Parliament on Tuesday (26 May), Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said, “This will allow the government to respond quickly to any unforeseeable developments arising from COVID-19. This could include public health or fiscal measures that have to be put in place quickly, if the medical or economic situation deteriorates.
“We will do our best to avoid this, but we must be prepared for any eventuality.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an unprecedented level of uncertainty. “It is uncertain how the pandemic will evolve, if there will be a second or even third wave, and if, and when, vaccines will be available. The uncertainty on the medical front is fuelling the uncertainty in the global economy,” Heng explained.
The use of the Contingencies Funds is subject to proper governance and accountability.
“Under the Constitution, the Minister for Finance may make advances from the Contingencies Funds if the minister is satisfied that there is an urgent and unforeseen need for the expenditure, and the President concurs with the making of such advances,” Heng said.
“Thereafter, the amount advanced shall be included in a Supplementary Supply Bill or Final Supply Bill, which will be presented to and voted on by Parliament, as soon as practicable.”
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