Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said that he will be looking at additional measures in Budget 2023 to "support Singaporeans over the coming year, especially those in the more vulnerable and lower-income groups".
Wong, who is Minister for Finance, quipped that Budget 2023 will be his "Valentine's Day present to all" to help them cope with rising costs, as he acknowledged the concerns many have regarding the issues surrounding the cost of living.
Wong also reassured that "the government will always be here for you, to help you cope with rising prices and inflation", in his speech at the launch of the Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers Scheme 2023 on Jan. 3.
On Dec. 29, it was announced that Wong would deliver the Budget Statement for the financial year 2023 in parliament on Feb. 14, 2023.
S'porean household can claim CDC vouchers for use at participating supermarkets
Every Singaporean household can now claim $300 worth of CDC vouchers, of which half is for use at participating supermarkets.
This means that $150 can be used in five supermarket chains, namely NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Prime, Hao Mart and U Star.
This is the first time since the scheme was introduced that CDC vouchers can be used at supermarkets.
Looking at the year ahead
Wong shared the upcoming challenges and uncertainties and how Singapore needs to be prepared, echoing PM Lee's 2023 New Year message.
Wong pointed out the difficulties that Singapore may face: the war in Ukraine, possible disruptions in food and energy supplies in the year ahead, the weaker global economy and the tense geopolitical landscape, specifically between the U.S. and China.
In addition, Wong stated that the pandemic is not over yet.
"We can see now a new wave that is taking place in China. We're monitoring the impact closely and what might impact us in particular, and we stand ready to take further actions if need be."
Wong warned that "we must expect that there will be ups and downs in the year" with "unexpected curveballs and surprises."
"That's just how life is."
However, he urged that "it is in times of adversity that we find strength."
"It's not what happens to us, but how we respond that matters", Wong said.