According to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (12 April), around S$9 billion worth of support measures will go to households and businesses in April.
As part of the measures, a one-off payout of S$600 will be given to nine out of 10 Singaporean adults on Tuesday (14 April). The money will be transferred through their bank accounts.
The others can receive this “Solidarity Payment” via cheque from 30 April onwards, or they can give the government their bank details and receive the money by 28 April.
Mr Heng assured in an interview with CNA938 radio station that he fully understood the hardship that businesses are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he also urged them to retain their employees with the help of support packages by the government.
Mr Heng added that “With the support, we should work together to tide over this very difficult period.” He pointed out that the Solidarity Payment is one the earliest measures to be introduced.
“I hope that this will provide some support, especially for our low-income families,” Mr Heng expressed.
Other support measures under the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, with a combined total of S$59.9 billion was also summarised by Mr Heng.
Firms, tenants, trade associations and parliamentarians have called for the government to provide more assistance more rapidly to combat the ill-impacts of the pandemic.
Under the government’s Jobs Support Scheme, all firms will be subsidised 75 per cent of the first S$4,600 of every local employee’s monthly wages, Mr Heng stated.
He additionally remarked: “This is a very significant support, and I hope that businesses do their part in keeping their workers, retaining them, so that we can emerge stronger after this.”
In addition, “various indicators” are also being monitored by the government to decide how much may be required still from past reserves to equip the country to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19, he added.
Businesses and Singaporeans have been urged by Mr Heng to make the best use of the current stimulus package already allotted to endure this current economic hardship.
The main priority now is to contain the spread of the pandemic, and everyone should observe the measures of safe distancing and staying home seriously, he reminded.
“Enhanced distancing measures will be inconvenient, but it is far more important to protect one another, and bear with the inconvenience,” Mr Heng later concluded.