The coronavirus has changed a lot of things in the world, including the way people work, live, shop and interact. Thanks to the pandemic, in many parts of the world, schools and airports are closed and businesses are no longer in operation. The virus is upending millions of lives in the world, and business owners in Singapore are doing all they can to remain in operation.
Some go as far as generating new ideas, while others seek advice from accounting firms in Singapore to evaluate their business – both during and after the lockdown…all this in preparation for the aftermath of the lockdown on Singapore’s economy. After all, the world is not certain as to when the virus will fade away. The only certain thing is that life will not be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already, many countries are implementing strategies and measures on how to face the tougher and rougher days ahead. Certainly, Singapore isn’t keeping quiet on this matter; while the world endures the present – and looks forward to the uncertain times ahead – Singapore’s leaders are working to reshape and reform the economy. Singapore’s government is aware of the present and future threats posed by the pandemic. To sustain the economy through business growth or expansion and generation of new jobs, opening the economy seemed like a good idea.
In early April, the Singapore government put in place a three-phased easing of lockdown measure. In an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin, the former Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong stated, “With the start of phase two, we expect virtually the entire economy to be reopened — shops, F&B (food and beverage), dining, social interactions… but there will be limits on the number of people who can get together.” Envisioning life after the pandemic, Singapore, after rolling the dice, decided its best option was to re-open practically the entire economy, meaning restrictions on companies and residents were lifted as a means to ensure the dying economy is sustained. One could only expect such a swift response from the government after Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister, said that the number of unemployed residents in Singapore may rise above 100,000 this year (from around 73,000 in 2019) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As so many people are losing their jobs on a daily basis, generating jobs has become the government’s biggest priority, according to the P.M. To cope with the rising unemployment rate, the government resolved to draw from the reserves rather than borrowing, which may lead to a more economic catastrophe. As a result, Singapore is spending an estimated 20% of its gross domestic product, equivalent to S$93 billion ($66.7 billion), as part of its economic response. This can be broken down into four separate stimulus packages, including cash handouts, rental rebates, tax waivers and wage subsidies.
If such an unprecedented measure is not put in place, then the labour market will be hit hard, increasing the number of unemployed citizens and raising the spectre of widespread hunger. The government hopes this will help to secure jobs, as well as support households and businesses in Singapore that are affected by the virus. During the aftermath of COVID-19, ensuring all Singaporeans have equal opportunities – via digital technology, education technology and e-commerce – is likely to generate new jobs, raise productivity and improve sustainability. With all these in place, “Singapore could become a centre for such solutions and services, serving both local and global demand,” Mr. Heng added.
Final Thoughts: What Can Businesses Do?
For those still in business – or those who intend to start a new business – it is important to evaluate the company’s status after the lockdown, which can be done by hiring an outsourced accounting firm or audit firm. Audit firms in Singapore have skilled professionals that can let you know the next best step to take for your business. They have many years of experience in auditing and business evaluation and can give you good advice to make well-informed business decisions.
While the government is doing all it can to sustain the economy and prevent a meltdown, business owners in Singapore, and potential investors, should ensure they not only generate new ideas but also hire an outsourced audit firm to evaluate the risks involved after the lockdown. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.