Resilience Budget—key highlights has been saved
Resilience Budget—key highlights
Extraordinary measures for extraordinary times
On 26 March 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat delivered the Resilience Budget, a supplementary budget. This is in response to the COVID-19 situation which has escalated rapidly since Budget 2020, or the Unity Budget, was announced only five weeks ago.
A strong message was sent during the Minister’s speech: Extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. Indeed, a whopping amount of S$55B in total for both packages, comprising funds drawn from current and past reserves, will be set aside to cope with the economic impact arising from the COVID-19 situation.
This Resilience Budget will complement the Unity Budget to help alleviate the concerns that businesses and individuals may have during this uncertain period as we begin to navigate through unchartered territory. The challenges that lie ahead of us could be seen as unprecedented while bolder measures have correspondingly been put in place by the Government to address such challenges.
First, preserving jobs of every Singaporean remains the top priority. Slightly more than a quarter of the entire package will be set aside to enhance and extend the Jobs Support Scheme, which was first introduced in the Unity Budget. The level of co-funding by the Government will depend on the sector, with more support allocated to adversely impacted sectors. The level of support provided to defray manpower costs has far surpassed that of the 2009 Global Financial Crisis.
Second, supporting businesses by recognising and introducing measures to deal with their immediate concerns–cash flow, cost, and credit. One of the key concerns for businesses is rental costs, as this is a significant part of their operating expenses. The enhancement of Property Tax rebate, ranging from 30% to 100%, will certainly help reduce rental costs for businesses.
Third, strengthening economic and social resilience so that Singapore can emerge stronger. Singapore needs to focus on her long-term planning even in times of disruption. Businesses and individuals should continue to make full use of this downtime. In particular, businesses should continue to push ahead to digitise, restructure and transform by leveraging on the enhancements of various initiatives such as SMEs Go Digital Programme, Productivity Solutions Grant and the Enterprise Development Grant. This is to enable us to be better prepared and to bounce back stronger and better when the eventual recovery arrives.
To quote a saying: “To run a country, you must have people who care and feel for it. This is important. If you care and feel for yourself but you have not identified your people with the country as a whole, it is very difficult to give it the momentum the thrust, the verve, the elan necessary.” While many of us are fearful during this period of time, the true test of a nation’s mettle is not to surrender to this panic or fear. The Government is leading with elan and verve by taking bold and decisive measures. We need to continue contributing individually and collectively to weather through this storm together, remembering that our backs are being taken care of every step along the way.
Stay healthy, stay safe!