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Transcript of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong's Closing Remarks at the Off-Cycle Support Package Press Conference on 21 June 2022

21 Jun 2022

We have given an update on what our overall economic and inflationary outlook might be. There are uncertainties ahead, but as I mentioned just now, this year, we still expect the economy to grow. Inflation – we think prices will remain high for some time, in line with global prices. There will be upward pressure, for example, for energy prices, and it will likely increase further before it gets better, globally and similarly in Singapore. 

Precisely because of all of these concerns, we are rolling out this additional package to help Singaporeans. We are doing so and designing the package carefully, so that the package does not in itself spark more inflation in Singapore, which can easily happen because we give more stimulus, that stimulus creates more inflationary pressures. That is why the package is weighted towards helping the lower-income and more vulnerable segments in our society who will bear the higher brunt of increased prices.

But overall, while there are challenges ahead, dark clouds over the horizon, lots of risk in the near term and also in the medium term, we should continue to draw confidence in the fact that Singapore is tackling these challenges and moving forward from a position of strength, certainly compared to many other countries around the world. Our economy is still doing well. We have moved earlier than most central banks when it comes to tackling inflation and monetary policy, and we have the fiscal resources to help Singaporeans tide through higher prices, as well as any potential crisis that may emerge down the road. 

That is why, I go back to my earlier points, that it is important for us to keep an eye on the medium and longer term in whatever we do. We have to make sure that we are not only dealing with the here and now and the immediate issues of cost of living and inflation, but we must accelerate our momentum for reforms and ensure Singapore emerges from this crisis with a stronger economic and fiscal position. This is what will enable us to deal with any uncertainties, any challenges because we do not know how prolonged or how deep the challenges will be in the future. It is much better that we prepare ahead of time, make sure that we are in a strong and sound position to deal with any of these challenges, but also to be able to seize the many and new opportunities that may emerge in the future as SMS Chee said just now.

At the heart of it all, I hope we can also draw confidence from the journey that we have been through in the last two years fighting the pandemic. We are shown that so long as we stand united, stay together and work together, we will be able to overcome any challenges ahead, and with that kind of mindset and attitude, I am confident that we will get through this crisis or any other crisis that we will face in the future. Thank you.