Govt will do more to provide help for vulnerable if economic situation worsens: DPM Wong


Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong assured Singaporeans that the Government will do more to help if economic situation worsens significantly.

“You have my word that if the situation worsens significantly, we will be prepared to do more, especially to provide targeted help for the lower-income groups,” he told the House on Jul 4.

DPM Wong was responding to questions from Parliamentarians on the various government measures and whether the impending GST hike could be postponed.

Here’s what he said.

“We should not push back the GST increase any further, as we will need the funds urgently to take better care of our growing number of seniors and to meet our rising health care expenditures.

That said, we have already set aside the S$6.6 billion Assurance Package to cushion all Singaporean households from the impact of the GST increase. As I had shared in the Budget, the majority of Singaporean households will not feel the impact of the GST increase for at least five years. And for lower income households, the impact of the GST increase is delayed by about 10 years.

Let me be clear, taking into account the latest inflation, the latest higher prices, this assurance still holds today. This is because we had designed the package with a buffer precisely in case of higher inflation. We will continue to assess the adequacy of the Assurance Package as the inflationary outlook evolves.

If need be, we will further enhance the Assurance Package to uphold our commitment. The Assurance Package and the S$1.5 billion package are two examples of how we are monitoring the global and domestic developments carefully and ensuring our support measure – whether already announced or new ones – are adequate and fit for purpose.

You have my word that if the situation worsens significantly, we will be prepared to do more especially to provide targeted help for the lower income groups.

And we will continue to do so while living within our means and upholding prudence and responsibility in fiscal management.

Sir, we must brace ourselves for a bumpy road ahead of us. We are confronting multiple crises. Governments and citizens around the world are facing the same problems of rising food and energy prices or uncertainties navigating economic challenges. In Singapore we have used a combination of monetary, fiscal and other policies to cushion our people from the extremes of global inflation, target help to those who need it most and help businesses adjust to higher prices, not just for today, but for the medium term.

With careful fiscal planning, we are able to mount further support if the situation warrants it. By continuing with sound policies and earning our people’s trust, we will turn challenges into opportunities.

We will take care of those with less and support the vulnerable while keeping our eye on the medium and longer term.

This is how we will get through this together and come out stronger as one Singapore.”