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Resilience Budget: Enhancements for digitalisation and skills upgrading programmes

THE government is enhancing programmes for digitalisation and skills upgrading so that businesses can make use of this downtime during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Thursday.

This includes an enhancement to the SMEs Go Digital Programme, which provides support for digital solutions including basic remote working tools.

Mr Heng said during his Resilience Budget speech in parliament that the government will also raise the maximum support levels for the Productivity Solutions Grant to 80 per cent and the Enterprise Development Grant to 90 per cent to spur transformation.

These enhancements will last until December 2020.

As for skills upgrading, Mr Heng noted that during Budget 2020 in February, the government raised course fee subsidies and absentee payroll to 90 per cent for the aviation, tourism, food services and retail trade sectors to last until June 2020.

The training support will now be extended to the arts and culture and land transport sectors, starting from April 1.

In addition, from May 1, the 90 per cent absentee payroll rates will be extended to all employers to provide additional cash flow relief when they send their workers for training.

The duration of these enhancements will also be extended to eligible courses starting before January 1, 2021.

Singaporeans can now make early use of the base S$500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up, announced during Budget 2020, from April 1 - ahead of the full implementation date in October.

"I hope this will help many more workers, jobseekers and self-employed persons make use of the downtime to learn, develop new skills and stay employable," Mr Heng said.