The Treasury Department (MOF) announced today (July 23) a $ 1.1 billion aid package to help businesses and workers cushion the effects of the new Covid-19 restrictions after new clusters emerge.
Singapore has returned to phase two (reinforced warning) since yesterday, with stricter measures in place through August 18 to contain the worsening virus outbreak.
According to the MOF, the package will be funded through reallocations due to a one-time underutilization due to Covid-19, as well as an earlier budget allocation in the event of an expansion of support measures.
The support includes improved wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and rental facilities, more support for drivers of taxis and private vehicles, and a new aid fund for market and street vendors.
"In putting together this support package, the government took into account feedback from workers and companies and dedicated business and trade association executives to understand their concerns," the ministry said in a statement.
1. Improved JSS support
JSS support will be increased up to 60 percent for the hardest-hit sectors such as food and beverage, gyms, performing arts organizations, and education centers from July 22 to August 18.
Meanwhile, support for sectors significantly affected by the restrictions will be increased to 40 percent.
These include retail, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, cruise and regional ferry companies, MICE operators, travel agents, museums, art galleries, movie theater operators and other family entertainment centers.
JSS support for these sectors will decrease to 10 percent between August 19 and 31.
2. Rent relief for commercial real estate
Tenants of state commercial real estate receive an additional four-week rent waiver, and eligible tenants and owner-occupiers of private commercial real estate receive an additional two-week rent relief in cash as part of the rental support program.
This will offset the rent for the entire duration of Phase 2 (HA) for government commercial real estate and for half the duration of increased measures for private commercial real estate.
Please visit the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS) website for more information.
Given that many tenants have indicated that not all landlords provided rental assistance, the MOF considered how rental obligations could be fairly shared between the government, landlords and qualified tenants.
3. Reinforced Covid-19 Driver Aid Fund
In order to support taxi drivers and private rental car drivers, the government will increase the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) from July 22 to the end of September.
The fund is currently providing eligible drivers S $ 10 per vehicle per day for 60 days from July and S $ 5 per vehicle per day for the next 30 days.
With this latest addition, eligible drivers will receive an additional S $ 10 per vehicle per day from July 22 to August 31 and an additional S $ 5 per vehicle per day in September.
4. Support for street vendors and market stalls
A new Market and Hawker Center Relief Fund will give a one-time S $ 500 in cash to all individual cooked food owners and market stalls in centers managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or contracted operators.
This follows the announcement that earlier this month an additional month of subsidies for fees for table cleaning and central dishwashing services as well as a month of rent exemption for these stand owners were announced.
5. Support for other affected workers
To help other workers affected by the tightened measures, the government will also provide the temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant until August 31.
It offers a payout of up to SGD 700 for those put on involuntary unpaid vacation and up to SGD 500 for those who have lost at least half of their income for at least a month due to the tightened security measures since May 16.
According to the MOF, existing scholarship holders who still need help can apply for a second support payment.
6. Grocery delivery expansion, e-commerce booster packs
Given the impact of stricter measures on the food and beverage sector, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce the Food Delivery Booster Package to cover a portion of the cost of food delivery via food delivery platforms and third-party logistics partners for July 22nd-August 18th transactions.
For the use of food delivery platforms, ESG pays five percent of the commission costs charged. ESG finances 20 percent of the delivery costs for food deliveries via external logistics partners.
The extension of the e-commerce booster package, which is now available through November 16, will also support local retailers to bring local e-commerce platforms on board.
Retailers receive a one-time 80 percent support for qualifying costs for service fees levied by platforms such as Lazada, Qoo10, and Shopee, which are capped at S $ 8,000.
Please see the ESG website for more details.
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