The Singapore government will throw a lifeline to businesses and staff who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and this will come in the form of financial assistance and additional relief for the hardest-hit sectors of tourism and transport.
Finance minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech on Tuesday (February 18) that the government will earmark S$4 billion (US$2.8 billion) this year to help stabilise Singapore’s economy and tide workers and businesses through the economic slowdown.
Heng also announced additional aid for the tourism, aviation, retail, food services and point-to-point transport services sectors, as they have been directly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, according to The Straits Times.
Redeployment programmes will help employers in these sectors retain and re-skill workers, while the funding period for re-skilling will be extended from three months to a maximum of six months, said the report.
More than 330,000 local workers are expected to benefit from this programme, and the Jobs Support Scheme.
As well, a property tax rebate of 30 per cent will be granted for the year 2020 for the accommodation and function room components of licensed hotels and serviced apartments, as well as prescribed MICE venues.
International cruise and regional ferry terminals will receive a 15 per cent property tax rebate, while Singapore’s two integrated resorts will receive a rebate of 10 per cent.
A year-long temporary bridging loan programme will be introduced to provide financial aid to tourism businesses.
The loan limit per company will be S$1 million, while the interest rate will be capped at five per cent. The Government will take on 80 per cent of the risk of the loan.
Furthermore, the aviation sector will receive rebates on aircraft landing and parking charges, on top of rental rebates for shops and cargo agents at Changi Airport.
Changi Airport will receive a 15 per cent property tax rebate.