Additional $1.2b Covid-19 govt support measures: How will S'pore firms and workers benefit?

Additional support measures for the recent period of heightened alert are expected to cost $1.2 billion. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament on Monday (July 5) that additional support measures for the recent period of heightened alert are expected to cost $1.2 billion.

Singapore tightened Covid-19 restrictions for about a month from May 16, with dining in at eateries prohibited and working from home made the default, as large clusters emerged and community cases rose.

Curbs were eased from June 14 and some support measures will taper down from this month.

Here is how businesses and workers will benefit from the support measures, and how the sum will be funded.

1. What the $1.2 billion goes to

Wage subsidies of 50 per cent under the Jobs Support Scheme were given from May 16 to July 11 for businesses in the food and beverage, sports, performing arts and arts education sectors.

The support is 30 per cent for qualifying retail outlets, cinema operators, museums, art galleries, historical sites and family entertainment centres.

The support under the scheme will be reduced to 10 per cent from July 12 to 25.

A temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant offers up to $700 for lower- to middle-income workers significantly affected during this period until end-July. They must not already be receiving support under the Covid-19 Recovery Grant launched in January.

A driver relief fund offers eligible taxi and private-hire car drivers $750 per vehicle per month from May 16 to June 30. The amount will be reduced from July.

Hawkers in places managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators also received a two-month rental waiver.

A month of rental waiver was also given for qualifying tenants of government-owned commercial properties.

READ FULLY STORY: Additional Covid-19 support measures for companies, workers, to cost $1.2 billion: Lawrence Wong

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2. How SMEs will be supported

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will continue receiving help to access credit.

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - Trade Loan will be extended for an additional six months, from Oct 1 to March 31 next year.

The parameters for both schemes remain unchanged, including the government risk-share of 70 per cent.

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme is aimed at helping local companies manage their immediate cash flow needs, while the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme - Trade Loan covers businesses' trade needs in areas such as inventory and stock financing.

READ FULL STORY: Temporary bridging loan, enhanced enterprise financing schemes for SMEs extended till March 2022

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3. Where the $1.2 billion will come from

About half of the $1.2 billion will come from an amount that was originally budgeted for the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System and the North-South Corridor.

This is a one-off adjustment as the Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (Singa) - which allows borrowing for these projects - was passed after the financial year had started.

The remaining will be reallocated from the under-utilisation of development expenditure, mainly due to delays in projects arising from Covid-19.

A Supplementary Supply Bill will be introduced to effect the reallocation of $1.2 billion. Past reserves will not be tapped.

READ FULL STORY: Singapore to borrow under Singa for first time

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