COVID-19 Budget: What You Need to Know

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On Thursday (26 Mar), Deputy Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat made a ministerial statement on additional support measures during the COVID-19 crisis in parliament. But what are the meaty bits of the statement anyway?

1. One-off cash payouts up to S$900

  • Each citizen aged 21 and above in 2020 will receive S$300, S$600, or S$900, depending on their income.
  • Each parent with at least one child 20 years old and below will receive an additional S$300.
  • The earlier-mentioned S$100 PAssion card top-up will be paid in cash to avoid queues (for senior citizens)
  • For one year, the Government will freeze fees and charges for government services
  • Student loan repayments and interest charges will also be suspended for one year.

2. Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

  • Government will be co-funding the following ratio of wages up to a cap of S$4,600
    • Local workers: 25%
    • Food services sector: 50%
    • Aviation and Tourism sector: 75%
  • Lower income worker, including the self-employed, get a special payment of S$3000 each

3. SEP Income Relief Scheme

  • Eligible self-employed persons will receive $1,000 a month for 9 months
  • They will also be given enhanced hourly training allowances, which will be raised from S$7.50 to S$10. This training support scheme will be extended to December 2020
  • Beneficiaries can apply for these benefits at their nearest social services offices

4. For job seekers

  • S$800 per month will be given over 3 months to those who have lost their jobs due to the economic impact of COVID-19 crisis
  • Helps tide them over while they look for a new job or go for training
  • SGUnited Traineeship programme for first-time job seekers was launched to help them
  • Heng Swee Keat also vowed to create about 10,000 jobs over the next year

5. Stabilising Businesses

  • Deferment of income tax payments for companies and self-employed persons will be automatically granted for three months.
  • Commercial properties badly affected by COVID-19, such as hotels, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants, will not need to pay property tax for 2020.
  • S$350 million enhanced aviation support package will fund measures such as rebates on landing and parking charges, and rental relief for airlines, ground handlers, and cargo agents.
  • Mr Heng also said S$90 million will also be set aside to help the tourism industry rebound strongly “when the time is right”.

The government is dipping into past reserves to fund an additional S$48 billion worth of measures. This is the second time in history (first time being during the global financial crisis in 2009) that past reserves is drawn.

Not bad leh, right?

To know the full details, please click here.

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