SINGAPORE (Mar 11): As the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak shows no signs of slowing down, Singapore is considering a second stimulus package to give businesses a much needed boost, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

In particular, the second package will be a shot in the arm for workers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) badly affected by the virus-led downturn.

This comes barely a month after Heng in his Budget 2020 speech on Feb 18 unveiled a $4 billion package to stabilise the Singapore economy and support local workers caught up in a swirl of near-term uncertainties.

The Stabilisation and Support Package announced last month comprised a new Jobs Support Scheme worth $1.3 billion, and improvements to the existing Wage Credit Scheme.

See: $4 bil support package for Singapore enterprises, workers to offset effects of Covid-19

Speaking at a roundtable organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times on Wednesday, Heng revealed that the government around 10 days ago has started working on the need for a second stimulus package.

On March 10, he had also discussed the need for additional measures with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Heng added.

Heng hinted that the second stimulus package will be aimed at encouraging and supporting workers and SMEs to strengthen their capabilities amid the downturn.

Separately, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday warned against complacency in the face of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, and said Singapore must now prepare for a “new normal”.

However, Iswaran who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, declined to elaborate when asked about the scale of a possible second stimulus package.

“We are prepared to do more, but it has to be a response to the situation,” he is quoted as saying.