Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a $48 billion Resilience Budget to help Singaporeans weather through what he calls an ‘unprecedented crisis of a highly complex nature’.
DPM Heng shared that President Halimah Yacob has already given her in-principle approval to draw on Singapore’s past reserves, and the Government will draw up to $17 billion from Singapore’s to fund this supplementary budget.
He highlighted that the Resilience Budget focuses on three key areas:
- Saving jobs, support workers, and protect livelihoods
- Helping enterprises overcome immediate challenges
- Strengthening economic and social resilience
Mr Heng emphasised that the Covid-19 outbreak is a challenge that will test Singapore’s social cohesion and psychological resilience. He added that the Government will take all the social and economic measures we need to keep Singaporeans safe, the economy running, and at the same time, prepare the country for recovery.
“Now, more than ever, we need Singaporeans to be strong, and ride through these challenges together,” he said.
Here are 3 things that you need to know from the Resilience Budget.
- Enhancing Support for Singaporeans
The Enhanced Care and Support package will cost $4.6 billion and includes measures such as:
- Tripling cash payout for Singaporeans of up to $900, and an additional cash of $300 for parents with children below the age of 20 years old.
- Grocery vouchers for eligible Singaporeans of up to $300
- Freezing all government fees and charges from April 2020 to 31 March 2021
- Suspending Student loan repayments for 1 year; and Late Mortgage Payment Charges for 3 months.
2. Supporting Workers
The Government is committed to helping workers stay employed, and at the same time supporting self-employed individuals with various initiatives such as:
- Job Support Scheme and the enhanced Wage Credit Scheme will focus on preserving and enhancing jobs
- Low-income workers will receive enhanced Workfare Special Payment with payout of $3,000 each.
- For jobseekers, they will be able to tap into programmes like SGUnited Traineeships and the SGUnited Jobs and explore job options that are available.
- Applications for ComCare will be more flexible so that affected Singaporeans can get help
- The Government will provide additional for those who are self employed with schemes such as SIRS (Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme). Eligible individuals under this scheme will receive $1000/month for nine months.
3. Stabilising Businesses
The Resilience Budget will address the three Cs on the mind of every business owner – cashflow, cost, and credit through these measures:
- Payout of up to $16.2 billion under schemes like Wage Credit Scheme and Jobs Support Scheme
- Deferment of income tax payments for companies and self-employed persons for three months
- Sector based support will also be provided which includes
- 1 year tax rebate and six months waiver of parking charges for Private Bus owners
- Enhanced point to point support package with payments of $300 per vehicle
- $350 million for the enhanced aviation support package
- $20 billion of loan capital to help support good companies with strong capabilities, and catalyse private sector loan capital
Top image: Screengrab from ChannelNews Asia