SINGAPORE - More than 1,200 companies have taken up government-assisted loans under two programmes meant to help firms ride out the Covid-19 crisis, according to figures from Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Monday (April 20).
Loans totalling more than $490 million have been taken up through the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme since they were started on March 2.
"We have seen encouraging response," said an ESG spokesman.
The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme is aimed at helping local companies manage their immediate cash flow needs.
Companies that require more working capital beyond the programme can apply for the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on April 6 that the Government will increase its risk share of loans taken under several loan financing schemes announced or enhanced at Budget 2020 in February and last month's Resilience Budget to 90 per cent, up from 80 per cent.
Mr Heng said in February that the Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan component will be enhanced for one year.
The maximum loan quantum will be doubled to $600,000, while the Government's risk-share on the loans will be raised to 80 per cent, from the current 50 per cent to 70 per cent.
He also introduced the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for a year to help businesses in the tourism sector with their cash flow.
He expanded the programme last month, allowing funding to be made available to enterprises across all sectors from April 1.
Businesses can take a loan of up to $5 million under the programme, up from the previous $1 million cap.
The SME Working Capital Loan was also updated last month.
The maximum loan quantum has been increased to $1 million, up from the $600,000 cap announced in February.
Last year, more than 7,100 companies took out working capital loans before the programme was spruced up this year, ESG noted.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and ESG said on Monday that it will offer near-zero interest rate loans to eligible banks - just 0.1 per cent per annum for a two-year tenor - in a move to support SME lending under ESG schemes.
The initiative will help lower the cost of loans for the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - SME Working Capital Loan and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, they added.