$1.5 billion Support Package to Provide Targeted Relief for Lower-Income Households and Vulnerable Groups21 Jun 2022
1. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong has announced a $1.5 billion support package to provide targeted and immediate relief for the lower-income and more vulnerable groups. The package will also extend more help for local companies in their enterprise and workforce transformation. This builds on the support measures announced in Budget 2022 and April 2022. The package will be funded from the better-than-expect fiscal outturn in FY2021, and there is no further draw on Past Reserves.
2. The Government had anticipated rising prices at the start of the year, and had responded with a comprehensive package of measures in Budget 2022, to cushion the impact of the higher prices. Some Budget measures have been implemented and others will continue to be rolled out in the coming months. Support measures to cushion the impact of the GST rate increases in January 2023 and January 2024 were also announced in Budget 2022.
3. In April 2022, the Government brought forward the disbursement of the Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers to all Singaporean households to May 2022, and the Small Business Recovery Grant for SMEs to June 2022. We also provided more help to vulnerable households by extending the duration of ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance, and a second round of Public Transport Vouchers.
4. However, the ongoing war in Ukraine as well as the continuing COVID-19 restrictions in parts of the world have disrupted supply chains, and resulted in higher energy and food prices. These factors have led to a sharper than expected rise in inflation across the major economies. It is likely that global inflation will remain high for some time, and may even increase further before it stabilises and gets better. Likewise in Singapore, we must brace ourselves for higher prices over the next few months. In particular, energy prices are likely to continue remain elevated over the second half of the year.
$1.5 billion Support Package
5. In light of the latest circumstances, the Government will provide a $1.5b support package to provide immediate and targeted relief, especially for the lower-income and more vulnerable groups. A summary of the measures in the package is provided in the Table below and the details are in the Annex. The package is funded through the better-than-expected fiscal outturn for FY2021, arising from higher revenues due to the stronger economic recovery in 2021, and lower-than-budgeted spending on COVID-19 response measures as the Omicron variant turned out less severe than anticipated. There will be no further draw on Past Reserves.
6. The design of the package is guided by three key principles.
a) First, the additional fiscal support provided should avoid stoking further inflationary pressures. Hence, the measures are targeted at providing more help for the lower-income and vulnerable groups, who are disproportionately affected by the higher prices.
b) Second, we should not distort price signals, as these are needed to guide our economic restructuring and transformation. In particular, we have to press on with the efforts to tackle climate change and to care for our rapidly ageing population. These structural moves will enable us to transit to a more sustainable, inclusive, and productive economy. However, we recognise that some businesses face higher operating costs in the near term, and may need additional support. We will therefore do more to support businesses and workers through this transition.
c) Third, we have to advance our medium-term agenda and chart our way forward in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner. There remains significant uncertainty on how prolonged or deep the challenges ahead will be.
Table: Summary of Support Measures for Individuals, Households and Businesses
Individuals and Households
· GSTV – Cash Special Payment of up to $300, on top of the regular GSTV-Cash to be received this year.
· $100 Household Utilities Credit for every Singaporean household.
· Permanent enhancements to ComCare Short- to Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) and Long-Term Assistance (LTA).
· Permanent revision of Singapore Allowance and monthly pension ceiling to support pensioners who draw lower pensions.
· One-off relief of $150 for eligible taxi main hirers and private hire car drivers in August 2022.
· Up to $300 in cash under the NTUC Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) Relief Scheme for combi bus drivers, limousine drivers, delivery drivers, and delivery motorcycle riders who are association members. Application is needed.
· Government’s co-funding share for 2022 Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) support will increase from 50% to 75%for wages up to $2,500 (First tier) and from 30% to 45% for wages above $2,500 up to $3,000 (Second tier).
· Businesses can continue to benefit from the current Jobs Growth Incentive till September 2022, when they hire mature jobseekers who have not been working for at least six months, as well as persons with disabilities or ex-offenders. To sustain support for employers of vulnerable workers, we will extend the JGI for another six months to March 2023. MOM will provide more details of the JGI extension closer to its expiry.
· 1-month Foreign Worker Levy waiver for Singapore’s 11 chicken slaughterhouses to support firms affected by chicken export ban.
· Energy Efficiency Grant for local SMEs in the Food Services, Food Manufacturing, and Retail sectors with up to 70% support to adopt energy-efficient equipment in pre-approved categories.
· Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan’s maximum loan quantum increased to $10m from 1 July 2022 to 31 March 2023; extended 70% risk-share during this period.
· Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan’s maximum loan quantum increased to $500,000 from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, after the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme expires on 30 September 2022.
Support for Individuals and Households
7. GSTV – Cash recipients will receive a Special Payment of up to $300 of additional cash in August 2022. About 1.5 million Singaporeans will be eligible for the Special Payment and they will be notified of their payments in August 2022.
8. A $100 Household Utilities Credit will be disbursed to every Singaporean household to help offset utilities bills.
9. To provide on-going and continuing support for the lower-income and the elderly, two schemes will be enhanced:
a) ComCare will be enhanced to provide additional assistance to households on SMTA or LTA. A one-person household on ComCare LTA will receive higher cash assistance of $640 per month, an increase of $40 from the current rate of $600 per month. Households with more members will receive more. Those who apply for ComCare SMTA or apply to renew their existing SMTA can also expect to receive higher cash assistance and support for their utility expenses. The amount of assistance will vary depending on the household’s composition, needs and income.
b) The Singapore Allowance and monthly pension ceiling for pensioners who draw lower pensions will be enhanced by $30 each, to $350 and $1,280 respectively.
Support for Lower-Wage Workers and Job-Seekers Who Need Help
10. The Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) was announced in Budget 2022 as a way for the Government to co-fund the wage increases of our lower-wage workers under the Progressive Wage moves. To provide further help for these workers, we will increase the Government’s co-funding share of eligible wage increases in 2022 from 50% to 75% for resident employees with gross monthly wages of up to $2,500 (first tier) and from 30% to 45% for employees with gross monthly wages of above $2,500 and up to $3,000 (second tier). All other existing scheme parameters remain unchanged.
11. The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) provides support for employers to hire mature jobseekers who have not been working for at least six months, as well as persons with disabilities or ex-offenders. The current phase of JGI will end in September 2022. To sustain support for employers of vulnerable workers, we will extend the JGI for another six months to March 2023. MOM will provide more details of the JGI extension closer to its expiry.
Support for Specific Groups Affected by Higher Fuel Costs and Chicken Export Ban
12. Fuel price increases have increased costs for many self-employed persons who depend on their vehicles for their livelihoods, while the export ban on live chicken from Malaysia has cut off the livelihoods of chicken slaughterhouses. We will provide targeted relief for these groups.
13. Eligible taxi main hirers and private hire car drivers will receive a one-off relief of $150 in August 2022.
14. Drivers of combi buses and limousines who are members of the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, as well as delivery drivers and delivery motorcycle riders who are members of the National Delivery Champions Association will be eligible to apply for the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme 2022. Successful applicants will receive a one-off cash relief of up to $300. More details on the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme 2022 will be provided by August 2022.
15. The Government will also provide one month of Foreign Worker Levy waiver for Singapore’s 11 chicken slaughterhouses, whose employees’ livelihoods depend on the supply of live chickens. This will help preserve industry capabilities amid the export ban.
Additional Support for Businesses
16. More generally, the Government will roll out measures to help businesses cope with rising energy costs, through co-funding investments in more energy-efficient equipment. This is a more sustainable way to help our businesses to manage energy prices which are beyond our control.
17. A new Energy Efficiency Grant will provide local SMEs in the Food Services, Food Manufacturing, and Retail sectors with up to 70% support to adopt energy-efficient equipment in pre-approved categories. These are sectors that have been significantly affected by higher electricity prices, in terms of the impact on their overall business costs. The grant will support such firms to improve their energy efficiency and alleviate increasing business costs due to increased energy prices. This grant complements other energy efficiency initiatives such as NEA’s Energy Efficiency Fund, which supports businesses in the manufacturing sector, as well as BCA’s Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings 2.0.
18. To support local enterprises with cashflow concerns, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan will be enhanced, with the maximum loan quantum increased from $5 million to $10 million from 1 July 2022 to 31 March 2023. The Government will continue to provide 70% risk-share for the scheme during this period. From now till 30 September 2022, firms can tap on the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) for their working capital needs. When the TBLP expires, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan will also be enhanced, with the maximum loan quantum increased from $300,000 to $500,000 from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
Ministry of Finance
21 June 2022
 Eligible recipients of 2022 GSTV – Cash: (i) Singaporean aged 21 and above in 2022; (ii) Assessable Income (AI) for Year of Assessment (YA) 2021 not more than $34,000; (iii) Annual Value (AV) of home (as indicated on NRIC) not more than $21,000; and (iv) does not own more than one property.