Recession-hit Singapore “is now recovering;” and the City-State’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, on Tuesday declared that “the crisis has passed.”
Singapore was among the hard-hit countries, with the Government even dipping into its foreign exchange reserves for the first time to finance some aspects of a “resilience package.”
Tracing the current recovery to that package, Mr. Lee said the Special Risk Sharing Initiative “prevented a crash in business financing at a time when banks were pulling back their lending” amid a gathering global crisis.
The initiative signified a proactive state intervention to maintain loans to companies. The Government “will continue to support companies to have access to credit, though we may have to review the terms” now, he said.
The Jobs Credit Scheme (JCS) “has [also] done its work and held retrenchment and unemployment numbers down.” The “extraordinary” JCS, designed to ease the operating costs of companies and avoid large labour lay-offs, “is no longer needed.”
But the Government, Mr. Lee emphasised, would extend the programme until June next year, phasing out the payments to eligible firms from the exchequer. The JCS extension would not require fresh funding from out of the foreign exchange reserves.
Mr. Lee announced that another programme, aimed at helping companies to “up-skill, re-skill, and multi-skill” workers in the risk-category of redundancy, would run its intended full course of two years.