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Singapore

Budget 2022: S$500m support package for firms in sectors that are ‘still struggling’, including one-off cash grant

SINGAPORE: Workers and businesses in sectors that are “still struggling” amid the broader economic recovery will receive help through a S$500 million support package, which will include payouts for certain firms.

The measure, known as the Jobs and Business Support Package, was announced by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday (Feb 18) as part of Budget 2022.

As part of the package, one-off cash grants will be given to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been most affected by COVID-19 restrictions over the past year, such as those in F&B, retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.

These SMEs will get a payout of S$1,000 per local employee, up to a cap of S$10,000 per firm, said Mr Wong.

“Local sole proprietors and partnerships in eligible sectors, as well as (Singapore Food Agency-licensed) hawkers, market and coffeeshop stallholders, who do not hire local employees, will also get a S$1,000 payout,” he added.

JOB AND LOAN SCHEMES EXTENDED

In addition, Mr Wong said the Jobs Growth Incentive – which was due to expire in March – will now be extended for another six months to September this year, with “stepped-down support rates reflecting the improved labour market conditions”.

“This extension will cover those who face greater difficulty finding jobs, such as mature workers who have not been employed for six months or more, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders,” he said.

The scheme was introduced in 2020 to encourage employers to hire locals, by providing salary support to eligible firms and workers.

Mr Wong also said the aviation sector will continue to get targeted assistance, including measures to ensure public health and safety at the airport, along with preserving core capabilities.

“We must preserve and enhance our status as an international aviation hub,” said Mr Wong, adding that more details will be shared at the Transport Ministry’s Committee of Supply.

“As our economy reopens, the harder-hit sectors should progressively see improved prospects. Meanwhile, these support measures will provide temporary relief for our businesses and workers.”

HELPING FIRMS DEAL WITH RISING COSTS

Mr Wong noted that authorities are closely monitoring the risk of rising inflation, driven mainly by a recovery in global demand amid continued supply-chain issues and a rise in energy prices.

For businesses, the spike in the cost of materials and electricity prices has led to cashflow concerns, he said.

To support their cashflow needs, authorities will extend the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the enhanced Trade Loan Scheme, with revised parameters, for another six months – from Apr 1 to Sep 30.

The first initiative provides businesses with access to working capital, while the latter covers their trade financing needs. The new parameters include lower maximum loan quantums, among others.

In addition, access to Project Loans for the domestic construction sector will also be extended for another year, from Apr 1 this year to Mar 31, 2023.

This is to support construction firms in fulfilling domestic projects amid rising costs and tightened cashflow, said the authorities.

Source: CNA/cl(ac)

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