Finance Minister Lawrence Wong to deliver ministerial statement on Covid-19 support measures on July 5

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will also set out the funding approach for these measures.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will also set out the funding approach for these measures.PHOTO: INSTITUTE OF POLICY STUDIES

SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament next Monday (July 5) on the Government's support measures for businesses and workers affected by tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

This comes ahead of a Supplementary Supply Bill to effect the reallocation of funds for the measures earlier announced on May 28, June 10 and June 18, in view of phases two and three (heightened alert). 

Mr Wong will also set out the funding approach for these measures at 3pm that day, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday.

An $800 million support package was rolled out in May. It included enhanced wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and rental relief to help businesses and workers cope with the impact of tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

The various support measures for those affected by the phase two (heightened alert) restrictions from May 16 to June 13 did not require an additional draw on past reserves.

Instead, they will be funded through a reallocation of spending, as some development expenditure can be capitalised under the recently passed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (Singa) Bill, the Finance Ministry had said.

With tightened safe management measures continuing until the middle of July, the Government subsequently extended the JSS enhancements for affected sectors by three weeks, before tapering it down to 10 per cent for another two weeks.

To provide targeted support to hawkers who are self-employed, it extended subsidies for fees for table cleaning and centralised dishwashing services.

It will also provide rental waivers till mid-July for stallholders in centres managed by the National Environment Agency or NEA-appointed operators.

The Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) was also extended till July 31 for other workers who remain affected by the tightened measures.

Private-hire car and taxi drivers will receive cash support for three more months from July, as the Government has set aside an additional $40 million to support them amid the low ridership during the current heightened alert period.

Drivers will receive $300 a month per vehicle from July over two months, and $150 a month per vehicle in the third month.

In October last year, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was then Finance Minister, also delivered a ministerial statement ahead of a Supplementary Supply Bill on additional Covid-19 support.

He had outlined the progress Singapore made in combating Covid-19, and its strategies to emerge stronger from the crisis. The statement followed his announcement last August that a further $8 billion would be spent to save jobs, create new ones and seize new growth opportunities.

The full statement by Mr Wong will be published on the Singapore Budget website after delivery.