Budget 2020 — 4. What Helping Groups Say

budget 2020 helping hands

EDUCATION and help for the less fortunate are key factors in the push forward as a society, through challenging times. But for groups that help — be they charity or education — the reaction times need to be quicker. Asst Prof Ben Choi of NTU explores the impact of social media, while Coli Goh of The RiCE Group and Gerard Ee of Beyond Social Services consider the next steps for their respective organisations.


Make Better Use Of The Money

Dr Tan Bee Wan, Executive Chairman, Integrative Learning Corporation

Instead of giving people a few hundred dollars, why not take the money that has been set aside for Stabilisation & Support and divide it among the people.

Give every Singaporean, aged 17 and above, a few thousand dollars, and encourage it to be used as seed funding to start something new.

The government should encourage them to invest it in a business or activities that will generate fresh ideas and create new opportunities. The money used and will flow back into the system and keep the small businesses and local economy humming.

And, surely, out of a pool of a few million people, you will get some good ideas.

Currently, the funds are designed to go back into existing establishments and may act as a temporary salve. Nothing new will come out of it.

The Social Media Conundrum

Asst Prof Ben Choi, Information Technology and Operations Management, NTU

I THINK it is a just and well-thought budget.

In addition to allocating necessary resources to manage the present situation, Budget 2020 has placed substantial consideration into post-event recovery.

More important, I think it is a forward-looking budget since it has also emphasised on an uncertain future, which poses even greater challenges to Singaporeans.

Specific to education and research, I think this budget presents various opportunities, if not tasks, to be worked on. Universities are expected to provide the leadership in retraining and continued educations for Singaporeans. Other education-related organisations will also be tasked to provide — beyond sustaining operations — avenues to upskill the local population.

In terms of research, I think this budget can prompt education-centric and practice-oriented research that provides immediate benefits to Singapore.

The problems with DRUMS (i.e., distortions, rumours, untruths, misinformation, and smears) warrant greater thought.

While Covid-19 is likely less fatal than SARS, it seems to have substantially greater societal implications in the short term. The ever-increasing influence of social media must come under proper consideration in future crisis management and response strategies.

Waiting For The Trickle

Colin Goh, CEO, The RICE Co Ltd.

THE swift and decisive measures taken by the government in addressing the effect on the economy due to the Covid-19 outbreak is definitely to be lauded.

The total budget of $5.6 billion set aside as part of the Stabilisation and Support package and Special Care and Support package to families will definitely ease the concerns of many business owners and families affected by this unanticipated occurrence.

In addition, it is definitely reassuring to see that the government took a long term stance to continue to invest in the up-skilling of our fellow Singaporeans, which must continue to be a dominant feature for all our future budgets.

However, as a social enterprise in the arts and culture sector, it is the eventual trickle down effect of this year’s budget that will determine if business sentiments take an immediate upswing and confidence returns before companies are prepared to support with donations and sponsorship.

I doubt that we will see an immediate V-shaped recovery unlike 2009/10, as there are still many other unknown variables at play.

As a social enterprise, we must re-examine our sustainability and continuity model and will apply to the Community Capability Trust fund to strengthen areas found lacking.

Trust In The People

Gerard Ee, Executive Director, Beyond Social Services

CITIZEN participation is an important ingredient for nurturing an inclusive home and the $30 million set aside for the self-help groups and the community development councils is a positive move.

To facilitate meaningful efforts from the community, decision-making must be entrusted to the beneficiaries and  residents.

To do so, thoughtful execution and an explicit  demonstration of trust will be necessary.


Links to all the Budget 2020 reaction articles:

1. What The People Say

2. What The Property People Say

3. What The F&B People Say

4. What Helping Groups Say

5. What The Small Businesses Say

See also  The Plain Vanilla Budget