In a mid-Circuit Breaker update shared on Facebook yesterday (13 May 2020), Singapore's Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah revealed that as at May 2020, the Government has provided S$16bn worth of support to Singaporeans and Singaporean companies under the Unity, Resilience, and Solidarity Budgets.
Almost half of that amount (S$7bn) has gone to the Jobs Support Scheme which helps companies retain and pay local workers. More than S2.5bn went to Property Tax rebate, Corporate Income Tax rebate, and Foreign Worker Levy waivers and rebates, on top of deferred income tax collection for companies and self-employed persons to help with cash flow.
Another S$2bn went to individuals and households for daily expenses, including the Solidarity Payment of S$600 to all adult Singaporeans, and GSTC - U-Save and S&CC rebates to eligible households. While around 450,000 Singaporeans benefitted from the Temporary Relief Fund - which provided a one-off assistance of S$500 to those in need of immediate financial help due to COVID-19.
She said: "Our first priority has been to protect people healthwise against Covid-19, and ensure that those infected, including foreign workers, receive the best possible care to help them recover.
"With economic activities slowing, our other major priority has been to ensure that individuals, families and businesses are supported through this difficult period."
In May, another S$4bn will be paid out under the Jobs Support Scheme, she noted. "Here I would like to acknowledge and thank those companies which did not need the money for donating it to charity or returning it so that it can be used for other good purposes."
Additionally, this month will see the first tranche of automatic payment under the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), amounting to S$300mn and benefitting over 100,000 self-employed people.
Apart from that, the COVID-19 Support Grant has been made available for those who have lost their jobs, are on compulsory no-pay leave, or have suffered a significant salary cut for at least three consecutive months. The grant provides support up to S$800 per month for 3 months.
The support measures listed above are over and above existing schemes such as MOE’s Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and ComCare, which have also been enhanced during this period, and are expected to benefit around 45,000 students and 40,000 households.
"There are another 3 weeks to the end of the Circuit Breaker. When it ends, we will be emerging into a changed world. While some of what was done in the past will continue, the way we live and work will inevitably have to change. We will all have to adjust and adapt. The government will provide the necessary support to enable the transition," she said.
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