1.5m eligible adult S'poreans to each get up to S$300 cash, as part of S$1.5b support package amid rising living costs
- One-off cash payments of up to S$300 will be given to eligible Singaporeans as part of an extra S$1.5 billion package
- This is to help more vulnerable groups cope with rising costs of living
- This handout is expected to benefit 1.5 million adults, while utilities credit will be extended to all households to offset rising energy prices
- Besides helping families, the package also covers assistance for businesses and specific groups of workers, such as taxi drivers and employees of slaughterhouses
- The package will be funded by “better-than-expected fiscal outturn” in financial year 2021 and will not be drawing on past reserves, the Ministry of Finance said
SINGAPORE — Eligible adult Singaporeans will receive a one-off cash payment of up to S$300, on top of the regular Goods and Services Tax (GST) vouchers to be disbursed this year, as part of an extra S$1.5 billion package to help more vulnerable groups cope with rising living costs.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday (June 21) that this is expected to benefit about 1.5 million Singaporeans.
This special payment will apply to Singaporeans who are aged 21 and above in 2022, have an assessable income not more than S$34,000 for the 2021 year of assessment, and whose homes have an annual value of not more than S$21,000. Those owning multiple properties are not eligible.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a press release that the package is intended to provide targeted and immediate relief for lower-income and more vulnerable groups in light of sharper than expected inflation that is experienced by major economies.
On top of helping families, the package will also provide support for businesses, workers and self-employed persons. It is funded by “better-than-expected fiscal outturn” in financial year 2021 and will not be drawing on past reserves, it added.
Introducing the measures at a press conference, Mr Wong, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said the inflation situation will eventually stabilise both globally and within Singapore.
"But for now, we must expect price increases to continue in the coming months and, in particular, energy prices are likely to remain elevated for the rest of the year. This is why I decided to introduce a new S$1.5 billion support package to provide immediate and targeted relief for Singaporeans."
The measures in this package are tilted towards helping lower-income and vulnerable groups because they are the ones who are "disproportionately impacted" by the effects of inflation, he added.
He also said that the Government had to be careful to ensure that the support measures did not add to further inflationary pressure.
"I designed the (support) package carefully so that the package does not in itself spark more inflation in Singapore, which can easily happen because (when) you give more stimulus, the stimulus creates more inflationary pressure.
"That's why the package is weighted towards the lower-income and more vulnerable segments in our society, who will bear the higher brunt of increased prices."
CASH VOUCHERS, UTILITY REBATES
About 1.5 million Singaporeans will be eligible for the S$300 special payment, MOF said, adding that recipients will be notified of their payments in August.
In addition, all Singaporean households will receive a S$100 credit to offset their utilities bills. This will be disbursed by September.
MOF also announced on Monday permanent enhancements to social support scheme ComCare.
For example, a one-person household on the ComCare Long Term Assistance scheme will receive a larger cash handout of S$640, which is S$40 more than the present one.
A higher cash assistance and support for utilities will also be given under the ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance scheme. The exact amount will vary depending on the eligible household’s income, needs and composition.
LOWER-WAGE WORKERS AND SELF-EMPLOYED PERSONS
Apart from direct help for households, more support will be rendered to lower-wage workers through the Progressive Wage Credit scheme.
The Government will increase its co-funding for eligible wage increases this year to 75 per cent, up from 50 per cent, for resident employees with gross monthly wages of up to S$2,500.
The co-funding will be bumped up from 30 per cent to 35 per cent for employees with a gross monthly wage of between S$2,500 and S$3,000.
The Jobs Growth Incentive Scheme, which supports employers who hire vulnerable groups, will be extended to March 2023 after its initial expiry date of September this year.
Targeted assistance will also be disbursed to certain groups, in particular self-employed persons affected by fuel price increases.
Eligible main hirers of taxis and private-hire vehicle drivers will receive a one-off relief of S$150.
Drivers of combi-buses and limousines, as well as delivery drivers and riders, will be eligible to apply for the labour movement's freelancers and self-employed scheme, also known as the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme, in which they may receive cash relief of up to S$300 if successful.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
The 11 slaughterhouses affected by the Malaysian ban on export of live chickens will receive aid, in the form of a one-month waiver of the foreign worker levy, MOF said on Monday.
For other businesses, the ministry has introduced an Energy Efficiency Grant to provide for up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs — capped at S$30,000 for each company — to help small- and medium-sized enterprises in the food manufacturing, food services or retail sectors to cope with higher energy prices.
For firms facing cash flow concerns, the maximum loan quantum under the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan will be doubled to S$10 million, up from S$5 million, for a period between July 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.
The Government will continue providing 70 per cent risk share for this scheme during the period.
Writing in a Facebook post on Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the support package will help lower-income and vulnerable groups cope with rising inflation.
"The war in Ukraine and the disruptions to international trade are beyond our control. But we can and will give an extra hand to those hit harder by this bump in our post-Covid recovery," he wrote.
"Rest assured the Government will help you every step of the way, as we get through this difficult period together."