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Parliamentary Replies

Support Available to Companies Affected by Halting of External Events where Food and Beverages are Served

14 Sep 2021

Parliamentary Question by Mr Christopher de Souza:

To ask the Minister for Finance (a) what support is available to companies such as food manufacturers, caterers and event companies which have been deeply affected by the halting of external events where food and beverages are served; and (b) how may such companies qualify for higher tiers of the Jobs Support Scheme.

Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong:

The protracted COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging period for businesses. Recognising that some sectors, such as Food and Beverage (F&B), would be negatively impacted by tightened Safe Management Measures (SMMs), the Government enhanced the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for these sectors during this period.

Food manufacturers, caterers and event companies that were badly affected by the SMMs can appeal for the higher tier JSS. The entire category of companies cannot be automatically included because the industry classification (Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes) do not fully capture the range of activities that companies may undertake, or their main customer segments. For instance, many event companies tag themselves under “Audio/Video Equipment Rental[1]” and not the SSIC for event companies. Another factor is that SMM restrictions do not affect companies uniformly. For instance, food manufacturers that supply to F&B outlets may be more affected than food manufacturers that provide to supermarkets or overseas markets.

As such, we exercise flexibility via appeals, and have extended the enhanced JSS support to companies which fall outside the stipulated qualifying criteria but are in genuine need. Companies can submit an appeal online and we will assess each case based on the merits of their circumstances. Since the start of JSS, we have extended enhanced JSS support for close to 4,600 companies.

Even as we gradually reopen the economy in a safe manner, there will be permanent changes in the way businesses are conducted and in consumer behaviour. Businesses cannot assume they are able to return to pre-pandemic modes of operation.

On top of Government providing JSS support, Government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board have been working alongside various stakeholders such as the Singapore Association for Conventions & Exhibitions Organisers and Suppliers, the Association for Catering Professionals and the Singapore Food Manufacturer’s Association to help companies emerge stronger from COVID-19, by embarking on transformation efforts and pivoting to new business models.

A range of grant and loan programmes are available for companies to obtain financial support, including the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP). Companies have tapped on these grants to innovate, increase productivity, as well as build digital capabilities that would enable them to venture into new business concepts and develop new business models. Beyond financial support, facilitation and advisory services are also available to help companies to continue identify growth opportunities in foreign markets and internationalise.


[1] SSIC 77391 – Renting and leasing of professional radio and televisions sets and sound reproducing and recording equipment