DPM Heng Swee Keat completed his speech on Fortitude Budget in Parliament today (May 26).
In this fourth Covid-19 support package, Heng said that jobs are a key focus, with support for people who want to learn and educate themselves, and creating new jobs.
Mr. Heng noted that the situation in Covid-19 had deteriorated significantly in terms of both lost lives and economic costs.
He added that the road ahead is uncertain and that Singapore's economy depends crucially on the state of the world economy.
However, the government has allocated $ 33 billion for this supplementary budget to help Singapore fight the Covid 19 crisis.
Together with the unity, resilience, and solidarity budgets, Singapore provides $ 92.9 billion, nearly 20 percent of Singapore's GDP.
1. All companies to get additional month Payouts for the Jobs Support Scheme
To provide companies with greater ease in reopening after the breaker, all companies are granted an additional month of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).
This is calculated based on the wages paid in August 2020 that companies receive when they pay JSS in October.
Companies that are unable to resume operations immediately after the breaker continues to receive 75 percent of the wage support until August or if they can be reopened, whichever is earlier. This includes retail stores, gyms and cinemas.
The classification of companies at different JSS levels will also be adjusted, and payouts for companies in more affected sectors will be increased.
Improvements to the job support program will cost $ 2.9 billion, and the overall program will provide businesses with $ 23.5 billion in 10 months.
2. Extended waiver of foreign workers and discount
The waiver and the discount on the transfer of foreign workers are extended by up to two months for companies that are not allowed to resume operations on site immediately after the circuit breaker has been opened.
This includes all companies in the areas of construction, shipping, offshore and process.
The waiver is 100 percent in June and 50 percent in July, while the discount is $ 750 in June and $ 375 in July.
3. Expansion of rent relief
A cash grant of approximately USD 2 billion will be made available to offset the rental costs of SME tenants, which will be paid out by the owners from the end of July.
The Justice Minister will present a new bill next week that will oblige landlords to waive rent for SME tenants who have seen a significant drop in sales in recent months.
In addition, two more months of rent waiver for commercial tenants and dealers are planned.
In the meantime, government, industrial, office and agricultural tenants have been given another month's rent waiver, a total of two months rent waiver.
4. Digital transformation worth over $ 500 million Business support
More than $ 500 million will be made available to help companies with their digital transformation.
More booth owners in Hawker centers, wet markets, coffee shops, and industrial canteens will receive a $ 300 bonus per month over five months to encourage them to introduce e-payments.
The Digital Resilience Bonus will also be introduced to help companies take their next step towards digitization, starting with the F&B and retail sectors.
Eligible companies can receive a payout of up to $ 5,000 if they use PayNow Corporate and E-Invoicing as well as business process or e-commerce solutions. An additional level of $ 5,000 is available for F&B and retail companies with advanced solutions.
5. 100,000 jobs and training opportunities are created
The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package is to be launched to create almost 100,000 opportunities in three areas: 40,000 jobs, 25,000 internships and 30,000 qualification courses.
The public sector will create 15,000 jobs, along with short-term jobs related to Covid-19 operations such as health declaration assistants and cutbacks.
The agencies will also work with companies to create 25,000 jobs.
There is also an incentive to hire employers who hire local workers who have completed eligible internship and training programs:
- For eligible workers aged 40 and over, the incentive is doubled to cover 40 percent of the salary over a six-month period, with a cap of $ 12,000.
- Together with other support programs, such as the special $ 500 SkillsFuture loan increase for every Singaporean aged 40 to 60 in 2020, the government offers this group particularly improved support for jobs and training.
- For eligible employees under the age of 40, this incentive covers 20 percent of their monthly salary over a six-month period and is limited to a total of $ 6,000.
6. USD 100 credit for households
To thank all Singaporeans for doing their part to stay at home for Singapore, Heng announces that the government will provide a one-time $ 100 solidarity loan to every household with at least one Singapore citizen.
This applies to all types of real estate and is credited to the July or August electricity bill.
7. Do not set aside another $ 13 billion in contingent liabilities
In order to meet urgent and unforeseen expenditure needs, which are not yet provided for in the pension law, the constitution provides that the parliament creates funds for unforeseen expenditure.
Each year, the government provides a total of $ 3 billion in the annual budget as a buffer for the emergency fund and the development fund for unforeseen expenses, says Heng.
With Covid-19, we are facing unprecedented uncertainties, he adds.
The government will invest an additional $ 13 billion in the contingent liability fund. This allows the government to respond quickly to unpredictable developments due to Covid-19.
Fortitude Budget is funded from previous reserves
This fortitude budget is funded from previous reserves – this is the second time that past reserves have been drawn on this fiscal year.
The president has fundamentally backed her for another $ 31 billion from our previous reserves to fund operations in this budget.
Overall, we plan to raise a total of $ 52 billion from previous reserves this fiscal year so that Singaporeans can overcome this crisis and emerge stronger, says Heng.
This is a very significant amount that is required due to the exceptional nature of the Covid 19 crisis, he adds.