Singapore will offer a one-time payment to support parents planning to have a baby amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is taken to encourage people to have babies as several citizens are putting-off parenthood because they are concerned about job loss and financial stress.
Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. According to data released by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Singapore's fertility rate was at 1.14 in 2018. At that time, only 39,039 babies were born in Singapore.
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the payment will help parents with expenses.
The additional payment support will come on top of the existing government's baby bonus. At present, Singapore's current baby bonus system provides eligible parents up to $7,330 (Rs 53,74,02) in benefits.
In a stark contrast, Singapore's neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Malysia have witnessed a spike in pregnancies during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the Philippines, unintended pregnancies are expected to spike by almost half to 2.6 million if COVID-19-related restrictions remain until year-end.
Like many developed countries, Singapore's key population challenges are our low fertility and an ageing population. The government has struggled to reverse the trend since 1980 despite organising public awareness campaigns and providing financial and tax incentives.
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