On 26 May 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced the “Fortitude” Budget. The Fortitude Budget follows the previously announced Unity Budget, Resilience Budget and Solidarity Budget. This $33 billion supplementary budget will provide support for businesses and workers to adapt and grasp new opportunities. It will also give additional support to households and the wider community during this adverse time, as well as provide funding to frontline agencies, allowing them to boost clinical management, swabbing and testing.
Below we provide a summary of what was announced in the Fortitude Budget:
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be enhanced in three ways:
- JSS will be extended for 1 more month to cover wages in August 2020
- For firms that cannot resume operations immediately after the circuit breaker, the Government will continue to provide wage support at 75% until August 2020, or when they are allowed to re-open
- An increase from 25% to either 50% or 75% in support for Aerospace, Retail, Marine and Offshore sectors
An SGUnited Jobs & Skills Package will create close to 100,000 opportunities in three areas: jobs, traineeships and skills training.
- Aim to create 40,000 jobs by end of 2020
- The SGUnited Traineeships programme will provide 21,000 traineeships for local first-time job seekers
- SGUnited Skills Training courses will be available for about 30,000 jobseekers to upgrade their skills while looking for a job. A training allowance of $1,200 per month for a course duration (between 6 to 12months) will cover basic expenses. This will be rolled out from July.
Incentives to hire local workers
There will be hiring incentives for employers which hire local workers who have completed eligible traineeship and training programmes. This will be expanded to cover workers of all ages. For eligible workers under the age of 40, the incentive will be 20% of the monthly salary for 6 months, capped at $6,000 in total. For those 40 and above, the incentive will be 40% of the monthly salary for 6 months, capped at $12,000 in total.
COVID-19 support grant
An additional $800m will be set aside for the COVID-19 support grant to support Singaporeans and PRs who need help. This includes those who have lost their jobs, are placed on no-pay leave or face significantly reduced salaries. Eligible recipients will receive up to $800 per month for 3 months.
Foreign Worker Levy and Waiver Rebate
This will be extended by up to 2 months for businesses that are not allowed to resume on-site operations after the circuit breaker. There will be a 100% waiver and $750 rebate in June 2020, and a 50% waiver and $375 rebate in July 2020.
Higher CPF contribution rates will be deferred
The increase in CPF contribution rates for senior workers will be deferred by 1 year, from 1 Jan 2021 to 1 Jan 2022.
Cash grants to help SMEs with rental
$2 billion in cash grants will help SME tenants with rental costs. Including the property tax rebate for 2020, the Government will:
- Offset another 2 months’ rental for qualifying SME tenants of commercial properties;
- Offset 1 months’ rental for qualifying SME tenants of industrial and office properties.
Financial support for promising startups
This includes $4.5b of loans through Government financial schemes like the Temporary Bridging Loan programme and the Enterprise Financing Scheme, and $285m additional financing support for promising startups by co-investing with the private sector.
A bonus of $300 per month over 5 months will encourage the adoption of e-payments by stallholders in hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops and industrial canteens.
Digital resilience bonus
Starting with food services and retail sectors, a payout of up to $5,000 will help businesses digitalise, with PayNow Corporate, e-invoicing, business process or e-commerce solutions. There will be an additional payout of $5,000 for businesses that use advanced solutions.
For the community
There will be more help with household expenses.
- Solidarity Utilities Credit
A one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit for each household with at least one Singapore Citizen will be credited in households’ July or August 2020 utilities bills with SP Group. This will cover all property types.
- Fostering digital inclusion
There will be an accelerated timeline for all secondary school students to own a digital learning device. For seniors, a Seniors Go Digital movement to build digital literacy through one-to-one coaching and small-group learning. There will be financial support for lower-income seniors to own digital devices.
- Support for charities and social services agencies
An Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme will provide dollar-for-dollar matching on eligible donations raised between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, capped at $250,000 matching per charity.