S'pore Government recovers $361 million from over 4,800 firms in JSS overpayment

The funds were recovered mainly through offsets against a firm's subsequent JSS payouts or returns in cash by large companies. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Government has recovered $361 million from 4,862 firms to remedy overpayments in the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said in a written parliamentary reply on Tuesday (Oct 5).

This amount - as at Sept 30 - represents 97.6 per cent of the money erroneously overpaid, he added.

The funds were recovered mainly through offsets against a firm's subsequent JSS payouts or returns in cash by large companies.

Mr Wong was responding to a question by MP Cheryl Chan (East Coast GRC) on the status of efforts to recover overpayments.

She also asked about plans to address the amounts that ministries are unable to recover.

It was reported in April that an excess of $370 million in wage support was erroneously paid out last year after the Government used wrong dates to determine the amount that 5,400 companies should get.

The same error also resulted in an excess of $1.2 million being paid out in foreign worker levy waivers and rebates to 360 companies.

The ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance, and Manpower said the mistake was discovered last November when the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore found anomalies in its regular processing checks on the JSS.

The ministries noted then that they expected to recover all the overpaid funds within the year.

Mr Wong added in his parliamentary reply that the Government expects to recover an additional $6.8 million by March next year, which represents 1.8 per cent of the total amount.

This will bring the total expected recovery of JSS overpayments to $367.8 million or 99.4 per cent.

"The recovery will be through offsets against future payouts of other enterprise support schemes, such as the Jobs Growth Incentive scheme and Wage Credit scheme, as well as commitments by firms to repay the amounts," he said.

The Jobs Growth Incentive scheme supports businesses in hiring locals by providing wage support for each new hire, while the Wage Credit scheme co-funds pay increases to support businesses in their transformation efforts.

Mr Wong said: "For the remaining $2.2 million, which is about 0.6 per cent of the total, owed by 274 firms, the firms can either return these amounts in cash via lump-sum or instalment payments.

"As the firms' circumstances vary, the Government will tailor our recovery approaches to the different types of circumstances, and seek to recover as much as possible of the overpaid amounts."

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