SINGAPORE: Social service agencies will be able to tap on up to S$350 million in funds through the set-up of a new trust, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech on Tuesday (Feb 18).
This year, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) will set up the Community Capability Trust to raise funds and support social service sector partners in enhancing their capabilities and capacities to serve the community, Mr Heng said.
For a start, together with the Tote Board, the Government will provide S$200 million to the trust in FY2020, and match up to S$150 million in funds raised over the next 10 years, Mr Heng said.
In total, the Government and the Tote Board will commit up to S$350 million for the Community Capability Trust, he said.
“This will provide a pool of funds that our social service agencies can tap on to transform themselves for the future. I hope they make good use of this to strengthen their organisational capabilities, become more productive, enhance their service infrastructure and enhance their service infrastructure, in partnership with MSF and NCSS,” Mr Heng said.
The trust will equip social service agencies to bring their sectors forward, he added.
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Mr Heng also announced measures to provide stronger support for employers of persons with disabilities (PwDs), and more support for the elderly and the lower-income.
He unveiled an Enabling Employment Credit (EEC), which will replace the current Special Employment Credit and Additional Special Employment Credit schemes for employers.
The new credit scheme will be available for five years, from 2021 to 2025, at a cost of about S$31 million per year, Mr Heng said.
“To ensure that the EEC remains helpful for PwDs to find employment and remain in the workforce, the Government will review the EEC after two years and make adjustments if necessary,” Mr Heng said.
Mr Heng said he will also top up three funds that provide targeted help for the elderly and the lower-income. There will be a S$750 million top-up to the ElderCare Fund, S$500 million to the ComCare Fund, and S$200 million to the MediFund, Mr Heng said.
“These funds provide a safety net for the low-income, by helping them to meet their daily expenses and healthcare fees,” Mr Heng said.
Mr Heng also announced that he will set aside S$250 million to give greater momentum to partnership efforts.
He said that the Our Singapore Fund (OSF) will be extended and topped up “to support more ground-up initiatives that Singaporeans are passionate about, across a wider range of domains”.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said that the Government will provide a S$20 million top-up to the OSF and extend it to 2025, to “encourage the development and implementation of citizen-led initiatives across a wider range of domains”.
The OSF was announced at Budget 2016, with a top of S$10 million, to support meaningful projects developed by citizens who have the passion to meet community needs, strengthen community spirit, and contribute to nation-building. MOF said that to date, the OSF has committed close to S$4.3 million for more than 240 ground-up projects across domains such as sports, arts and heritage.
Mr Heng added that the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources will also launch an SG Eco Fund to support partnerships with the community and enterprises in Singapore’s sustainability efforts.