Coronavirus: Keppel rolls out $4.2m package for lower income households, community; helps SME suppliers

Volunteers demonstrating proper washing of hands to children. PHOTO: KEPPEL

SINGAPORE - Keppel Corp on Thursday (March 19) announced a more than $4.2 million package to help the Singapore community weather the coronavirus outbreak.

The package will be funded by voluntary contributions from Keppel group directors, senior management and staff, with dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from Keppel Corp. It comes on the back of the company's earlier donation of over $900,000 to support Singapore and international efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Keppel Corp chairman Dr Lee Boon Yang said: "As one of the largest homegrown companies in Singapore, Keppel will do what we can to strengthen national resilience in the fight against Covid-19. Through this package, we will provide support to the communities most affected by the pandemic, including healthcare workers and patients, lower income families, as well as small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)."

The chief executive and chief financial officer of Keppel Corp, as well as CEOs of key Keppel business units, have volunteered to give up one month of their salaries in April to support this effort, while directors of Keppel business units will contribute an equivalent amount of their annual fees. Other members of the group's senior management will forgo half a month of their salaries, while other Keppel employees in Singapore can donate any amount they choose. Any additional amount from employees will be channelled to The Courage Fund.

About $3.5 million of the $4.2 million package will go towards supporting lower income households in Singapore, through rebates given by Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas to residents living in one- and two-room HDB flats. The rebates will be rolled out starting from May 1 and are expected to benefit more than 40,000 households.

Another $300,000 will be donated to The Courage Fund to support communities affected by Covid-19. This is in addition to the $300,000 earlier donated by Keppel Care Foundation, bringing Keppel's total contribution to The Courage Fund to $600,000.

Keppel will set aside $400,000 from the package to support its frontline contract staff, such as cleaners and security personnel, and provide essential items to vulnerable communities. Keppel said its staff volunteers will work with the group's urban logistics arm, UrbanFox, and other partners to procure and distribute these items to beneficiaries over the next few months.

To help SMEs, Keppel has commited to pay all SME suppliers within one week upon its approval of invoices, regardless of the credit terms provided by the suppliers. This takes effect immediately and for a period of six months. Further details will be communicated to its SME suppliers directly.

The move is part of efforts by Keppel to help improve cashflow for SMEs by improving payment terms, as it works with a network of about 3,000 SMEs in Singapore.

Keppel said also on Thursday that while the virus outbreak has had some impact on the group's operations, including its international supply chain, it has so far not been as severely affected as some other companies which are in sectors directly affected by the pandemic. Keppel said it will continue to carefully monitor the situation and manage the group's cost and cashflow as it works closely with all stakeholders.

Said Dr Lee: "Keppel has stood together with the community to overcome many challenges over the past five decades. I am confident that with unity and determination, we can effectively weather this difficult environment, and emerge stronger together."

MORE ON REBATES BY KEPPEL ELECTRIC, M1 AND CITY GAS

- Keppel Electric will offer a $20 monthly bill rebate, for six months, to existing customers living in one- and two-room HDB flats. This is about 40 per cent of their average monthly electricity bill.

- M1 will provide a $5 monthly rebate on its mobile service, also for six months, to existing customers who reside in these flats.

- City Gas will offer a $10 monthly rebate, also for six months, to residents of one and two-room HDB flats who use piped town gas. This is equivalent to about six months of gas supply.

- A family that is a customer of Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas could receive a total rebate of $210 or more.

- Households who are existing customers of Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas as at March 1, 2020, are eligible for the rebates.

- They will be informed directly by Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas on the details of their rebates.

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