The COVID-19 crisis has proven to be such an unprecedented situation that DPM Heng Swee Keat has just announced Singapore's fourth Budget. With Singapore's unemployment rates up to 3.3% - the highest since 2009 and GDP growth expected to shrink between 4% to 7%, the focus of the Fortitude Budget is on helping businesses and creating jobs. As with the past three budgets, the numerous measures that were introduced sought to strike a balance between dealing with the short-term challenges brought about by the crisis and ensuring the long-term security of Singapore's economy.
With respect to businesses and jobs, the Fortitude Budget outlined initiatives in 3 main categories: support, transformation, and growth.
In addition, measures to increase community resilience through digital tools and financial support to families and social services were also introduced. SGD 13 billion was also set aside for Contingencies Funds to tide over unforeseen expenditure needs. In total, the Fortitude Budget will utilize another SGD 33 billion, bringing the total budget to nearly SGD 100 billion, which is roughly 20% of Singapore's GDP. The fact that the budget deficit has been the highest since Singapore's independence shows how much the COVID-19 crisis has impacted Singapore's economy.
Fortitude is finding courage in adversity.
The crisis has exposed gaps in traditional business operations, which means that organizations would have to think differently in order to overcome these changes successfully. We are often resistant to change because we fear the unknown. However, during times of adversity, it is important to have the courage and take that leap of faith. This leap of faith will help organizations think of creative solutions that will sustain them through the crisis and beyond. This is why DPM Heng Swee Keat reiterates that we need to have the fortitude to persevere, even as the road to recovery seems uncertain.
Having fortitude has to do with our mindset and mental toughness. If we want to build fortitude, we have to change our mindset. This can be done by adopting a growth mindset. When we have a growth mindset, we understand that our personalities and skills are not static. Consequently, we are willing to learn and develop ourselves further. With such an attitude, we can tackle change more positively and find opportunities where others find obstacles.
The Singapore government has provided many resources over the past 4 budgets to help organizations and individuals get through this crisis: be it in the form of monetary support or skills training. Nonetheless, it is still up to the respective organizations and individuals to seize opportunities and maximize resources to their advantage.
We will overcome. We will emerge stronger together as Singapore United, Singapore Together.