Deloitte Singapore’s response to Finance Minister’s Ministerial Statement on the Government’s additional support measures

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Deloitte Singapore’s response to Finance Minister’s Ministerial Statement on the Solidarity Budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

SINGAPORE, 6 April 2020 – Deloitte Singapore’s subject matter experts share their reactions and comments to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s statement in Parliament on the Solidarity Budget – government’s additional support measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Mr LOW Hwee Chua (刘辉泉), Regional Managing Partner for Tax & Legal, Deloitte Singapore and Southeast Asia:

“Once again, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has proven that the government is keeping to its promise of a strong and decisive response in our fight against this crisis, acting swiftly with enhanced broad-based measures for workers, businesses and households that can tide us through this “circuit breaker” period. It is up to us as Singaporeans and residents to stand in solidarity with the government to protect our nation and be ready for when the clouds part.”

“The enhanced Jobs Support Scheme of 75% wage support for a monthly salary cap of S$4,600 for the month of April is both generous and simple to implement.  This is in contrast to some other countries where there are complicated rules for companies to qualify, including proving that there was a drop in revenue (in some countries, a drop of 50%). The Government’s proposal gives certainty to businesses and saves a significant amount of manpower needed to administer a complicated scheme.”

Ms LIEW Li Mei (刘丽梅), Tax Partner and International Tax Leader, Deloitte Singapore:

“While we had expected that there may be an enhancement to the Jobs Support Scheme (“JSS”), the increase in the cash grant from 25% to 75% (for sectors other than the food services and tourism and aviation sectors) for wages up to S$4,600 for each local employee for the month of April 2020 will definitely be welcomed by all businesses. This enhancement clearly shows the Government's commitment to help save jobs.”

“As expected, the Solidarity Budget is focused on helping businesses and individuals tide over the ‘circuit breaking’ period.”

Ms Sabrina SIA (佘爱玲), Tax Partner and Leader of Global Employer Services, Deloitte Singapore:

“The self-employed individuals have been significantly hit by the impact from Covid-19 and many are now struggling to make ends meet due to lack of cashflow. The relaxation of conditions under the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) to allow more individuals to be eligible for the SIRS would definitely extend support to a bigger group of self-employed individuals, and allow more to receive assistance to tide them through the next few critical months.”

“The Government has announced the acceleration of the payment of the various cash payouts and support to be given to individuals, families, employers, workers, etc., to help address the cashflow and liquidity challenges that many individuals and organisations are now facing. This will definately be welcomed by many.”

“The one-off Solidarity Payment of S$600 per adult Singaporean given by the Government is the largest amount given to-date, to be funded out of our Reserves.  This clearly shows that our Government is trying its best to help every Singaporean regardless of his/her income level and type of property he/she resides in.  This is again unprecedented as such payouts are typically pegged to income level and type of property stayed.”

Mr James WALTON, Transportation, Hospitality and Services Sector Leader, Deloitte Singapore and Southeast Asia:

“The enhanced SIRS – with a higher Annual Value Threshold and the inclusion of self-employed persons with small employment income – will help more people in the arts, sports and events sectors qualify. 100,000 self-employed people could now automatically qualify, and this comes on the back of a vocal movement for government support to a broader group. While the scheme has been broadened to include more people, this may still not be sufficient to cover everyone and for many, it may still only be a fraction of the lost earnings they face in the coming weeks and months.”

“After the last two budgets focused heavily on supporting the aviation, tourism and food services sectors, this time the focus was clearly on the rest of the economy. There are some small further benefits for those sectors though, as food services sees their subsidy rise from 50% to 75% for April and everyone benefits from the cashflow benefit of the payout coming one month sooner; as well as foreign worker levy rebates, which will be welcomed in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”

Press contact:

Carie-Anne Bak
Deloitte Singapore
Marketing & Communications
+65 6531 5203
cabak@deloitte.com

Marie Li
Deloitte Singapore
Marketing & Communications
+65 6800 3717
meijli@deloitte.com

June Yeo
Deloitte Singapore
Marketing & Communications
+65 6800 3937
juneyeo@deloitte.com

 

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