SINGAPORE - More support is on the way for households given the economic impact of the conflict in Ukraine, and some Budget measures will be rolled out earlier, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament on Monday (April 4).
He noted that the war has contributed to a further spike in inflation around the world and other factors, such as supply chain issues, have contributed to rising prices.
As such, the $100 worth of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers for 2022, which was announced in this year's Budget, will be given out to every Singaporean household by the middle of May, said Mr Wong.
This comes after the first tranche of $100 CDC vouchers for all Singaporean households was disbursed four months ago last December to help Singaporeans with their daily expenses.
Mr Wong said: "I understand the concerns that many households and businesses have about the current situation... Where possible, I will bring forward the implementation of our Budget measures."
More financial support is also on the cards for lower-income households that will be more impacted by the higher prices during this period.
All new ComCare short- to medium-term assistance applicants between April and September 2022 will be given at least six months' worth of support from the social service offices, said Mr Wong.
Households that are already on this assistance scheme can also have their assistance extended for at least another three months if they need more help.
Lower-income households will also get more help with their public transport fares.
Mr Wong also announced another round of public transport vouchers worth $30 for more than 30,000 ComCare recipients.
These vouchers had been made available last December to help households cope with the public transport fare hike.
This group will hence receive $60 worth of the vouchers in total, which will roughly cover the additional fares paid by a family of four this year following the fare hike last December.
These vouchers are also available to all households with a monthly income per member of up to $1,600. Applications are open from now to Oct 31, 2022. Eligible households who had already received the first voucher, and who need a second voucher, can also apply again, said Mr Wong.
Mr Wong also announced that to help businesses, he will bring forward the disbursement of the Small Business Recovery Grant, which provides up to $10,000 for small- to medium-sized enterprises most affected by Covid-19 restrictions over the past year.
Most eligible businesses will be able to receive the grant by June, he said. Originally, eligible businesses for the grant would have been notified from June 2022.
The finance minister was responding to MPs who had asked if the Government would be enhancing the support measures announced in the Budget.
"We will need time to allow these measures to take effect and feed through the economy, before we can monitor their impact, assess the overall situation and then consider what additional steps we might want to take," he said.
Mr Wong also noted that the Budget had included rebates for service and conservancy charges (S&CC) and utility bills for households.
The first tranche of S&CC rebates and U-Save rebates to eligible households will be disbursed this month, and the rest will be disbursed in the coming quarters.
"This will address a key cost of living component which several members asked about," he said.
Other measures in place include the Covid-19 Recovery Grant to help those experiencing job loss or sustained income loss - available till the end of the year - and the Taxi Subsidy Scheme for lower-income persons with disabilities who require point-to point services to commute.
Mr Wong said: “If the situation worsens and more support is needed, the Government stands ready to do so.”