Each year, in the annual Budget, the government sets aside a total of $3 billion as a buffer in the Contingencies Fund and the Development Contingencies Fund to cater for urgent and unforeseen expenditure needs which have yet to be provided for under the Supply Act.
With Covid-19, we are facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat in Parliament today (May 26).
“It is uncertain how the pandemic will evolve, if there will be a second or even third wave, and if, and when, vaccines will be available. The uncertainty on the medical front is fuelling the uncertainty in the global economy,” Heng explained.
In a bid to allow the government to respond quickly to any unforeseeable developments arising from Covid-19, he announced that the government will set aside an additional $13 billion in the Contingencies Funds.
Unforeseeable developments could include public health or fiscal measures that have to be put in place quickly, if the medical or economic situation deteriorates.
The use of the Contingencies Funds is subject to proper governance and accountability, he added.
“Under the Constitution, the Minister for Finance may make advances from the Contingencies Funds if the Minister is satisfied that there is an urgent and unforeseen need for the expenditure, and the President concurs with the making of such advances,” Heng said.
“Thereafter, the amount advanced shall be included in a Supplementary Supply Bill or Final Supply Bill, which will be presented to and voted on by Parliament, as soon as practicable.”
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