Each year, the government provides a total of $ 3 billion in annual budget buffers to the Emergency Fund and the Contingency Development Fund to meet urgent and unforeseen spending needs that are not yet covered by the Utilities Act.
With Covid-19, we face unprecedented uncertainty, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament today (May 26).
“It is uncertain how the pandemic will develop, whether there will be a second or even a third wave, and if and when vaccines will be available. The uncertainty on the medical front is fueling uncertainty in the global economy, ”said Heng.
To enable the government to respond quickly to unpredictable developments related to Covid-19, he announced that the government would put an additional $ 13 billion in contingent liabilities.
Unpredictable developments could include public health or finance measures that need to be implemented quickly if the medical or economic situation deteriorates.
The use of contingent liabilities is subject to proper governance and accountability, he added.
"According to the constitution, the finance minister can make advances from the emergency fund if the minister is convinced that there is an urgent and unforeseen need for spending, and the president agrees to these advances," said Heng.
"Then the advance amount will be included in a supplementary or final pension bill, which will be presented to Parliament as soon as possible and voted on by Parliament."
Selected image source: The Star