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Resilience Budget: S$95m more for taxi and private-hire drivers, S$55m for arts sector

TAXI and private-hire drivers affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic will benefit from enhanced rescue measures that will cost the government an additional S$95 million, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Thursday.

The enhancements to the Point-to-Point Support Package come on top of the the S$77 million that Mr Heng announced during Budget 2020 in February.

Eligible taxi hirers and private-hire drivers will continue to receive the Special Relief Fund payments of S$300 per vehicle per month until end-September, Mr Heng said during his Resilience Budget speech in parliament.

He added that support will also be extended to the taxi and private-hire operators.

In addition, the government is giving private bus owners a one-year road tax rebate and six-month waiver of parking charges at government-managed parking facilities. This will cost the government S$23 million, he said.

Meanwhile, the arts and culture sector will get an additional S$55 million support package that will save jobs and support upskilling and digitalisation of the sector.

This will be done in three ways.

First, additional support will be given to major companies and leading arts groups. Mr Heng said they are integral to Singapore's vibrant arts scene, and aid to them will safeguard jobs and retain capabilities in the local arts ecosystem.

Second, the government will enhance the National Arts Council's Capability Development scheme for the Arts to deepen skills and support the professional development of arts organisations and practitioners.

Third, digitalisation efforts will be stepped up, he said, by building the sector's digital capabilities and establishing more digital arts platforms to reach out to new audiences.

Mr Heng said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth will share more details later.