The Singapore Budget 2020 was announced on Tuesday (18 Feb) by the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. The provisions in the budget will entail the government spending a total of S$6.4 billion to mitigate the effect of Covid-19 outbreak on the nation, assist Singaporeans’ cost of living as well as stabilising the economy.

Frontline support

A sum of S$800 million will be allocated towards supporting the frontline agencies who have been in combat against the virus.

Most of the sum of will be allocated to the Ministry of Health, alongside the yearly customary sum already committed to public health.

Care and support package

A Care and Support Package with the sum S$1.6 billion will be allocated to helping Singaporean households cope and manage the increasing costs of living in the current period of uncertainty.

Specifically, a one-time cash payout of S$100, S$200 or S$300 will be given to all Singaporeans aged 21 and older, in accordance with their income. Also, to offset utilities cost under the yearly GST voucher, U-Save rebate will be doubled in the form of a one-off GST voucher for eligible households. In addition to this, extension will be given to the Service and Conservancy Charges for another year where rebates between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half months will be given to eligible households.

Furthermore, more assistance will be given to lower-income Singaporeans with the provision of Workfare Special Payment and Grocery Vouchers. The Workfare Special Payment will grant 20 per cent more for work completed in 2019, with a minimum payment of S$100 to Singaporeans on workfare. The Grocery Vouchers, which can be used at major supermarkets, provides needy Singaporeans with grocery vouchers as much as S$100 in 2020 and 2021.

Support and stabilisation package

In the current period of economic uncertainties, the S$4 billion budget allocation, called the Support and Stabilisation Package will address the main concern of assisting workers to retain their jobs.

The two schemes in the package are the Jobs Support Scheme and the Wage Credit Scheme. Through the Jobs Support Scheme, eight per cent of the wages up to a monthly limit of S$3,600 will be offset for three months. On the other hand, the role of the Wage Credit Scheme is to promote wage increases for the Singaporeans.

Industries impacted by the Covid-19 virus will also receive support in the form rent waivers and corporate tax rebates which are part of the package.

Additional support will be provided to the five sectors directly affected by the epidemic which are point-to-point transport services, tourism, retail, aviation and food services.

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