S$5.1 billion Solidarity Budget summarised in 90 seconds

Another draw on past reserves is needed.

Sulaiman Daud | April 06, 2020, 02:44 PM

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced several additional measures in the Solidarity Budget announcement on Apr. 6, 2020 to shore up support for workers, households and businesses impacted by Covid-19.

Direct cash payout

The government will be bringing forward the S$300 announced in the Care and Support package and adding S$300 on top of it.

This means that every adult Singaporean will receive a minimum cash payout of S$600 to tide through Covid-19.

Other Singaporeans, depending on their tier of Care and Support, may receive an additional S$300 to S$600.

Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme

The government will boost the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for the month of April.

The wage subsidy for all firms will be raised to 75 per cent of gross monthly wages, for the first S$4,600 of wages paid in April 2020 for each local employee.

The first JSS payout will be brought forward from May 2020 to April 2020.

Firms on GIRO and PayNow will start receiving their first JSS payout next week.

Waiver of foreign worker levy

Employers will not need to pay foreign worker levy due in April 2020.

In addition, the government will pay a foreign worker levy rebate of S$750 for each S Pass holder's work permit, based on previous levies paid on 2020.

Mandatory passing on of rental rebate

Earlier under the Resilience Budget, the government announced a Property Tax Rebate of up to 100 per cent for non-residential properties.

To ensure that property owners pass on the rebate to their tenants, Minister for Law K Shanmugam will introduce a Bill in Parliament on Apr. 6 to make it so.

The Bill will also allow businesses and individuals to defer certain contractual obligations.

More support for self-employed persons

The government will extend the Self Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) to automatically include self-employed people who also earn a small income from employment work.

The current Annual Value threshold will be raised to S$21,000 to include those who live in some condominiums and private properties.

A total of 100,000 self-employed persons will be eligible for the scheme and can receive three payments of S$3,000 starting in May 2020.

Another draw on past reserves

In all, the additional measures will cost S$5.1 billion. S$4 billion will fund the additional support for businesses and workers, and S$1.1 billion for the Solidarity Payment.

Heng said that he has sought and obtained in-principle approval from President Halimah Yacob to draw an additional S$4 billion from past reserves.

The government's response to Covid-19 will therefore total almost S$60 billion, or about 12 per cent of Singapore's GDP.

Top image from CNA YouTube.