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Solidarity Budget: Support For Businesses During COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 cases increases daily especially in local cases, the Singapore Government has finally enforced tighter measures and introduced the Circuit Breaker which will be effective tomorrow, 7th April 2020, for a period of four weeks till 4th May 2020. This will inevitably put a strain on our economy as non-essential businesses are not allowed to operate.
Today Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the third round of Budget this year - The Solidarity Budget - which builds upon and reinforces the previous Unity and Resilience Budgets. This will cost the Government S$5.1 billion as further steps have to be taken to save jobs and protect livelihoods for Singaporeans during this difficult time.
S$1.1 billion is set aside for the Solidarity Payment for all Singaporean adults aged 21 and above to receive $600 in cash this month, while S$4.4 billion will be used to enhance support for businesses and workers.
Support for businesses will continue in terms of Cash, Cost and Credit. The Job Support Scheme will be enhanced to help retain workers. All firms will receive a wage subsidy of 75% of gross monthly wages on the first S$4,600 of wages paid in April 2020 for each local employee. The payout will be brought forward to April instead of May. Firms on Giro and Paynow will start receiving the payout next week, and those who will receive by cheque will start about a week later. For subsequent months, wage support levels will remain at 75% for aviation, accommodation and tourism sectors, 50% for F&B sectors, and 25% for all other sectors.
To further ease labour costs, Foreign Worker Levy will be waived for Work Permit and S Pass holders for April, in addition to the Foreign Worker Levy rebate of S$750 for each worker.
There will also be support for rental costs in terms of 100% property tax rebate for non-residential properties and laws to ensure property owners pass on property tax rebates to tenants will also be put in place. Rental waiver for industrial, office and agricultural tenants of Government agencies will be raised to one month from the previous 0.5 month.
Government also enhances financing support by increasing risk share to 90% for Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)-Trade Loan, EFS-SME Working Capital Loan, and Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for loans initiated from 8th April 2020 to 31st March 2021. For more information or application on SME loans, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, for Self-employed Persons (SEPs), the eligibility criteria for Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) will be broadened. Those who earn a small income from employment work will be automatically included, and the Annual Value threshold has also been raised from S$13,000 to S$21,000. Eligible SEPs will receive quarterly payouts of S$3,000 in May, July and October 2020.
As the Government continues to extend support for households and businesses, it is important that every individual plays a part in keeping clean and safe, and helping in containing the Coronavirus.
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