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Bellwether Singapore pivots from the pandemic

SINGAPORE – With an economic recovery underway and its worst-ever recession receding, Singapore is pivoting away from pandemic-induced big spending to renew its focus on key structural changes to stay competitive in the years to come. That is at least how the city-state’s latest budget, unveiled on February 16, is being pitched.

But as the small island-nation emerges from the crisis of a generation, forecasts point to an uneven recovery across various sectors of its bellwether economy. That unevenness, say economists, is bound to be reflected in regional growth performances, as neighboring countries continue to battle Covid-19 resurgences and move haltingly to vaccinate their populations.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat introduced the S$107 billion (US$80.5 billion) budget this week, acknowledging that while Singapore is heading towards a recovery fraught with uncertainties, the latest spending plan shifts the focus “from containment to restructuring” while retaining scaled-back support for the hardest-hit economic sectors.

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