The grave health and socioeconomic situation raised by the global COVID-19 wave has rocked the world of the budgetary plan over. All countries have dedicated their efforts, both financially and workforce-wise, to combating COVID-19. As such, the economic aftermath of this pandemic can be expected to last for a long time. Singapore, one of the world’s richest nations, is also not unaffected by these recent developments.
Singapore’s annual budget had already been presented back in February 2020. The ongoing COVID-19 disaster, however, forced the government to take further action. The result is Singapore’s supplementary budget 2020, which is being called as the Resilience Budget Singapore. The government’s mantra for resilience is four-pronged: support livelihoods, stabilize the economy, build resilience, and deploy assets. A whopping $48 billion is being invested so that the economy can rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Here is all you need to know about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the Resilience Budget Singapore.
Resilience Budget Singapore Will Support Livelihoods
The supplementary budget has proposed various ways to support livelihoods and families in the country. The Singapore government has promised to pay 25% of the employed workers’ monthly wages for the next 9 months. Further financial support up to 75% will be extended to the areas worst affected by the deadly infection. Additionally, Singapore’s temporary relief fund can be used by COVID-19-affected families in immediate financial need. For lower and middle-income groups, the government will also provide $800 per month for three months.
The Government Is Determined to Help All Families
The Resilience Budget Singapore includes several relief measures for families. With the supplementary budget, the finance ministry has vowed not to increase government-related fees for a year. Students can also breathe a sigh of relief as their student loan repayment requirements have been suspended for a year. Moreover, to enhance community funding, self-help groups and community development councils will receive $20 million and $75 million, respectively.
Resilience Budget Singapore Will Stabilize Businesses
For immediate relief, income tax payments for all companies and self-employed people have been deferred from April to June 2020. Rent relief is also a major step being taken by the Singapore government through its supplementary budget. Hawkers do not have to pay rent for the next three months. Businesses renting government properties for their operations are also eligible for up to 2 months of waiver in rent.
Aviation and tourism, arguably the worst impacted sectors of the economy, will get support through the Resilience Budget Singapore. For the aviation industry, the government has promised to provide $350 million in support. The tourism sector will also receive aid in the form of $90 million, so it can bounce back from the catastrophe.
Singapore’s Enterprise Development Grant scheme has also been upgraded. It will now provide 80 to 90% support to the businesses badly hit by the pandemic. Further, the maximum trade loan amounts under the enterprise financing scheme have been doubled from $5 million to $10 million. To add to this, the government will share as much as 80% of the financial risk.
Building Resilience Is an Important Goal
To revive businesses and make them more resilient, the government has offered to increase support for vocational training. Additionally, it will also support digital solutions that eliminate or minimize the need for physical contact among workers. This is likely to encourage businesses to make more and more of their work digital.
Art and culture segment of the economy has also suffered profusely due to the coronavirus scare. The supplementary budget will cheer up those in this sector, as the government will contribute $55 million towards its restoration. This is to promote the development of renewed capabilities in the digital age while retaining current jobs and expertise. The hope is that this step will make the sector more resilient to the ups and downs in the economy.
The efforts being taken by the Singapore government in such dire times are commendable. They certainly have made Singaporeans more hopeful about what is to come. With the government’s support and citizens’ optimism, the country will slowly but surely spring back. After all, isn’t hope what we all need to battle these grim circumstances?