MOF announces $1.1b Covid-19 support package for workers, firms: What you need to know

The package will be funded by reallocating underused funds and fiscal resources set aside earlier.
The package will be funded by reallocating underused funds and fiscal resources set aside earlier.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Friday (July 23) announced a $1.1 billion support package to help cushion workers and businesses from the impact of phase two (heightened alert) measures in place from July 22 to Aug 18.

This will be funded by reallocating underused funds and fiscal resources set aside earlier.

Here are the key announcements:

1. Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

From July 22 to Aug 18, JSS wage support will be raised to 60 per cent for sectors that are required to suspend many or all of their activities. These include food & beverage (F&B) businesses, gyms, fitness studios, performing arts organisations and arts education centres.

Other significantly affected sectors will receive 40 per cent wage support. These include retail, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, cruise and regional ferry operators, Mice (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) organisers, travel agents, museums, art galleries, cinema operators and other family entertainment centres.

JSS support for all these sectors will be tapered down to 10 per cent from Aug 19 to 31.

2. Rental relief for commercial properties

Qualifying tenants in Government-owned commercial properties will receive a four-week rental waiver. Qualifying occupants of privately-owned commercial properties will receive a two-week rental relief cash payout.

MOF said the Government is also looking to require sharing of rental obligations between the Government, landlords and tenants. More details will be announced later by the Law Ministry.

3. Extension of Food Delivery Booster Package

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce the Food Delivery Booster Package, which helps F&B operators, including hawkers, defray part of the business cost of offering food delivery for transactions made between July 22 and Aug 18.

ESG will fund five percentage points of the commission cost charged by food delivery platforms and 20 per cent of the delivery costs for orders made through third-party logistics partners.

4. Continuation of E-Commerce Booster Package

ESG will also give local retailers grant support to get on e-commerce platforms Lazada, Mummy's Market, Qoo10, Shopee and Zalora.

The E-commerce Booster Package, which was reintroduced on May 16, will be available till Nov 16.

Retailers will receive a one-time grant of 80 per cent of the qualifying costs of the service fees charged by the platforms, capped at $8,000.

5. Credit support measures

Banks and finance companies will continue to provide cashflow assistance to borrowers affected by the tightening of restrictions.

These lenders will also offer relief and restructuring options for borrowers based on their specific circumstances.

MOF said this arrangement is facilitated by ESG, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and industry support measures that had been recently extended.

6. Enhanced Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund

The Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund will be enhanced and will provide eligible taxi and private-hire car drivers an additional $10 per vehicle each day from July 22 to Aug 31, and an additional $5 per vehicle each day in September.

It currently provides drivers $10 per vehicle each day for 60 days from July, and $5 per vehicle each day for the next 30 days.

7. Support for hawkers and market stallholders

Affected hawkers and market stallholders in centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators will receive a one-time $500 cash payout under a new Market and Hawker Centre Relief Fund.

This is on top of the previously announced one month's worth of rental waivers and subsidies for table-cleaning and dishwashing fees.

8. Extended Covid-19 Recovery Grant - Temporary for affected workers

The Covid-19 Recovery Grant - Temporary will be available till Aug 31. The grant provides a payout of up to $700 for workers who were placed on involuntary no-pay leave, and up to $500 for those who lost at least 50 per cent of their income for at least one month due to the tightened safe management measures.

Current recipients of the grant can apply for a second payout if they continue to require assistance.