Government Funding To Small Businesses – 1. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced a $1.5 billion aid package to provide targeted and immediate relief to low-income and vulnerable groups. The package will also extend further assistance to local companies in their business and workforce transformation. This builds on support measures announced in Budget 2022 and April 2022. The package will be funded from the best of the expected financial results in fiscal 2021, and there is no further flexibility with respect to previous reserves.
2. The government predicted higher prices at the start of the year, and responded with a comprehensive package of measures in Budget 2022 to mitigate the impact of higher prices. A number of budget measures have been implemented and more will be introduced in the coming months. Supportive measures to soften the impact of GST rates in January 2023 and January 2024 were also announced in Budget 2022.
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3. In April 2022, the government announced the distribution of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers to all Singaporean households until May 2022, and small business recovery grants for SMEs until June 2022. Extension of ComCare short to medium term grants, and second round of public transport vouchers.
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4. However, the ongoing war in Ukraine as well as ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in some parts of the world have disrupted supply chains, resulting in higher energy and food prices. These factors have led to faster-than-expected increases in inflation in major economies. Global inflation is likely to remain high for some time, and may even rise further before stabilizing and improving. Similarly in Singapore, we should brace ourselves for higher prices in the next few months. In particular, energy prices are likely to remain high in the second half of the year.
5. Given the recent circumstances, the government will provide a $1.5b aid package to provide immediate and targeted assistance, particularly to low-income and most vulnerable groups. A summary of the measures in the package is presented in the table below and details are in the appendix. The package is funded by a better-than-expected financial result for fiscal year 2021, arising from higher revenues due to a strong economic recovery in 2021, and less than budgeted costs for COVID-19 response measures because The Omicron type performed a little harder. There will be no more draws on previous bookings than anticipated.
A) First, the additional financial assistance provided should prevent further inflationary pressures from building up. Therefore, the measures aim to provide more support to low-income and vulnerable groups who are disproportionately affected by higher prices.
B) Second, we must not distort price signals, as they are necessary to guide our economic recovery and transformation. In particular, we must step up efforts to address climate change and care for our rapidly aging population. These structural movements will enable us to transition to a more sustainable, inclusive and productive economy. However, we recognize that some businesses are facing higher operating costs in the short term, and may need additional support. That’s why we will do more to support businesses and workers through this transition.
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C) Third, we must pursue our medium-term agenda and plan our way fiscally responsibly and sustainably. There is considerable uncertainty about how long or how deep the challenges will be.
· GSTV – Special cash payment of up to $300, in addition to the regular GSTV cash received this year.
· A one-time relief of $150 for eligible taxi key workers and private hire car drivers in August 2022.
· Up to $300 cash under the NTUC Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) grant scheme for kombi bus drivers, limousine drivers, delivery drivers, and delivery motorcycle riders who are members of the union. An application is required.
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· From 2022 50% to 75% for wages up to $2,500 (Level I) and 30% to 45% for wages above $2,500 to $2,500 to support the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) Govt co-funding part. $3,000 (Second Class).
· Businesses can continue to benefit from the current job growth incentive until September 2022 when hiring adult job seekers who have not worked for at least six months, as well as the disabled or ex-offenders. To support employers of vulnerable workers, we will extend the JGI for a further six months until March 2023. MOM will provide more details closer to the end of the JGI extension.
· 1-month foreign worker exemption for Singapore’s 11 poultry slaughterhouses to support companies affected by the poultry export ban.
· Subsidies for energy efficiency for local SMEs in the food service, food manufacturing and retail sector sectors with up to 70% support for adopting energy efficient equipment in pre-approved categories.
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· Enterprise Financing Scheme – The maximum business loan amount has been increased to $10 million from 1 July 2022 to 31 March 2023; During this period risk sharing is extended to 70%.
· Enterprise Funding Scheme – The maximum SME working capital loan has been increased to $500,000 from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, after the temporary bridging loan program expires on 30 September 2022.
7. GSTV-Cash recipients  will receive an additional cash special payment of up to $300 in August 2022. About 1.5 million Singaporeans will be eligible for the special payment and they will be notified of their payment in August 2022.
8. A $100 household utilities credit will be given to every Singaporean household to help pay utility bills.
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9. To provide continuous and sustainable support for low income and senior citizens, two schemes will be improved:
A) ComCare will be developed to provide additional support to families on SMTA or LTA. A single household in the ComCare LTA will receive a higher cash assistance of $640 per month, an increase of $40 from the current rate of $600 per month. Families with more members will get more. Those applying for a ComCare SMTA or renewing their existing SMTA can also expect to receive higher cash grants and support for their facilities. The amount of assistance depends on the family’s composition, needs and income.
B) The Singapore Allowance and monthly pension thresholds will be strengthened by USD 30 each to USD 350 and USD 1,280 respectively for pensioners paying a lower pension.
10. The Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) was announced in the 2022 Budget as a way for the Government to raise the wages of our low wage workers under progressive wage movements. To provide additional support for these workers, in 2022 we will increase the government’s co-funding for eligible wage increases from 50% to 75% of the $2,500 gross monthly salary for resident workers (tier one) and 30% to increase from 45%. For employees with a gross monthly salary of more than $2,500 and up to $3,000 (Tier 2). All other existing scheme parameters are unchanged.
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11. The Job Growth Incentive (JGI) provides support for employers to hire mature job seekers who have not worked for at least six months, as well as those with disabilities or ex-offenders. The current phase of JGI will end in September 2022. To support support for employers of vulnerable workers, we will extend the JGI for a further six months until March 2023. MOM will provide more details on the extension closer to the end of the JGI.
12. Rising fuel prices have increased costs for many self-employed people who rely on their cars for a living, while Malaysia’s ban on live chicken exports has reduced the livelihoods of poultry slaughterhouses. We will provide targeted assistance to these groups.
13. Key employees of eligible taxi and private hire car drivers will receive a one-time relief of $150 in August 2022.
14. Kombi and limousine drivers who are members of the National Private Hire Vehicle Association as well as delivery drivers and delivery motorcycle riders who are members of the National Delivery Champions Association are eligible to apply for the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme 2022. Successful applicants will be Get up to $300 in one-time cash assistance. More details about NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme 2022 will be provided by August 2022.
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15. The government will also provide a foreign worker levy exemption for Singapore’s 11 poultry slaughterhouses, whose livelihood depends on the supply of live chicken. This will help maintain industrial capacity during the export ban.
16. Typically, the government will initiate measures to help businesses deal with rising energy costs, co-financing investments in energy-efficient equipment. This is a very sustainable way to help our business manage energy prices that are out of our control.
17. The new energy efficiency grant will provide up to 70% support to local SMEs in the food service, food manufacturing and retail sectors to adopt energy efficient equipment in pre-approved categories. These are the sectors most affected by high electricity prices, in terms of the impact on their overall business costs. This grant will help such companies to improve their energy efficiency and reduce the rising costs of doing business.
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