Singapore government to provide targeted support to affected businesses; no need to draw on reserves

Angela Tan
Published Tue, Jul 20, 2021 · 03:24 PM

IN view of the latest tightened safe management measures from Jul 22 to Aug 18, 2021, the Singapore government will provide targeted support measures to affected businesses and workers.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force and Finance Minister, Lawrence Wong, said: "I can assure you the government will provide a support package to all affected businesses and workers.

"To give a sense of what the support package would look like, you can just look back at what we had done previously under the Phase Two (Heightened Alert). It's a package that works out to be somewhere in the region of S$800 million plus-S$900 million."

Mr Wong said there is no need to draw on past reserves as the situation is quite different from previously, when there was an emergency situation.

"We had no choice. But under the current situation, the economy is already recovering and is still expected to recover," he said.

This would be the third time that dining in has been banned. The last time when Singapore disallowed dining in, it was during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period that started from May 16 this year.

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An S$800 million support package was rolled out in May. It included enhanced wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and rental relief to help businesses and workers cope with the impact of tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

The various support measures for those affected by the phase two (heightened alert) restrictions from May 16 to June 13 did not require an additional draw on past reserves.

Instead, they will be funded through a reallocation of spending, as some development expenditure can be capitalised under the recently passed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (Singa) Bill.

With tightened safe management measures continuing until the middle of July, the government subsequently extended the JSS enhancements for affected sectors by three weeks, before tapering it down to 10 per cent for another two weeks.

To provide targeted support to hawkers who are self-employed, it extended subsidies for fees for table cleaning and centralised dishwashing services.

It will also provide rental waivers till mid-July for stallholders in centres managed by the National Environment Agency or NEA-appointed operators.

The Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) was also extended till July 31 for other workers who remain affected by the tightened measures.

Private-hire care and taxi drivers will receive cash support for three more months from July, as the Government has set aside an additional $40 million to support them amid the low ridership during the current heightened alert period.

Drivers will receive S$300 a month per vehicle from July over two months, and S$150 a month per vehicle in the third month.

Singapore was looking to relax measures when new and growing Covid-19 clusters emerged from KTV lounges and the city-state's main fishery port, which has spread to 26 markets and food centres.

According to Health Minister and co-chair of the task force, Ong Ye Kung, the KTV cluster stands at a total of 193 cases while the Jurong Fishery Port and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre cluster has 179 infections.

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