Following DPM Heng Swee Keat’s delivery of the Emerging Stronger Together Budget, HSBC economist Joseph Incalcaterra said on CNBC that Singapore tends not to disappoint when it comes to fiscal policies because Singapore is in an ‘enviable’ financial position. It is able to spend liberally to get itself out of the crisis thanks to fiscal prudence and the accumulation of Strategic Reserves.
Joseph Incalcaterra said the tremendous fiscal policies taken by the Singapore Government in 2020 helped prevent deep scars in the economy that are seen in other countries. Singapore has a very credible vaccine strategy to innoculate the whole population before the end of the year and that should allow Singapore to stand out in the region. He expects strong investment recovery in Singapore. He noted that Singapore actually exceeded target for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in 2020.
Earlier this year, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing announced that despite the pandemic gloom, Singapore secured S$17.2 billion in Fixed Asset Investments (FAI) and S$6.8 billion in Total Business Expenditure last year (2020).
It was a strong performance in an exceptionally difficult year.
In his budget speech, DPM Heng Swee Keat said:
“How we recover from COVID-19 in the next few years is critical. It will determine our nation’s long-term success. Beyond dealing with its immediate impact, we are making significant investments to position Singapore for our next bound of growth in the post-COVID-19 world.
“COVID-19 has disrupted business models and global supply chains, and accelerated trends such as digitalisation. To secure our future, it is crucial for us to seize opportunities in new growth engines, respond to structural trends, and transform our economy.
“We will invest strategically in these areas over the next few years, so as to emerge stronger.”
Singapore has reasons to be optimistic as long as we stay together as one united people, flexible, nimble and adaptable.