It is to be expected that everyone will pay extra attention to Budget 2021, given the highly adverse impact of the pandemic on Singapore’s economy. After all, everyone wants to know how much moolah they’ll be getting in this year, when COVID-19 has left the dough particularly scarce.
But if you’re looking for a summarised rundown of the highlights of this year’s Budget because you simply haven’t the stamina for that much econs, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 facts about Budget 2021 you should know.
1. New COVID-19 Resilience Package
$11 billion has been set aside for a new COVID-19 Resilience Package. The package is aimed at dealing with three areas:
- Addressing immediate needs to safeguard public health and reopen safely
- Support for workers and businesses
- Targeted support for sectors remaining under stress
$4.8 billion will be targeted towards public health and safe reopening measures to tackle the pandemic.
The package will also fund the existing COVID-19 Recovery Grant, which supports those out of job or dealing with significant loss of income, along with existing enhanced financing schemes.
2. Extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
The JSS will be extended for sectors that remain under stress, amounting to $700 million.
Here’s a breakdown of the JSS for sectors across different tiers.
Tier 1 sectors (aviation, aerospace, tourism):
- Extension of JSS by six months
- Firms will receive 30% support for wages paid from April-June 2021
- Firms will receive 10% support for wages paid from July-September 2021
Tier 2 sectors (retail, arts and culture, food services, built environment):
- Extension of JSS by three months
- Firms will receive 10% support for wages from April-June 2021
Tier 3B sectors (sectors doing well e.g. supermarkets and Internet companies):
- Discontinuation of JSS support after December 2020
Tier 3A sectors (employers from all other sectors)
- Coverage of JSS up to March 2021
Additionally, specific schemes from the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package will be extended.
3. More Targeted Support for Harder-Hit Sectors
Under the COVID-19 Resilience Package, $870 million will be dedicated towards cost assistance measures.
As it seems highly unlikely that travel will recover to pre-COVID levels anytime soon, targeted support and cost relief will be provided for the aviation sector.
Additionally, the package also consists of $133 million for the existing COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund, which aims to help taxi and private hire car drivers who have been hit by the pandemic.
The Arts and Culture Resilience Package and Sports Resilience Package will also be extended to aid companies and those who are self-employed within these sectors.
4. SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package
An additional $5.4 billion will be dedicated to a second tranche of the Jobs and Skills Package—out of this amount, $5.2 billion will be put towards the JGI to increase the hiring window by seven months, up to the end of September 2021.
Mr Heng also said that the next phase of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package will fund the hiring of 200000 locals in 2021.
A target amount of up to 35000 traineeships and training opportunities will also be provided for those seeking employment opportunities.
5.Increased Salaries for Healthcare Workers
The government will increase the salaries of the unsung heroes that have been bringing us through this difficult time—healthcare workers. Nurses and other healthcare workers across public healthcare institutions, such as support care staff, can expect salary enhancements.
6. Extension of Wage Credit Scheme and Capability Transfer Programme
Mr Heng announced that the Wage Credit Scheme will be extended for a year in order to assist salary increments for businesses to keep or attract local workers.
The Capability Transfer Programme (CTP) which aims to support skills transfer from foreigners to locals, will be extended to the end of September 2024.
7. New $900 million Household Support Package for Families
This new Household Support Package will provide some level of support to all families, with those families who are on the lower-to-middle income spectrum receiving more aid.
This support will include GST vouchers, rebates and Edusave top-ups, among other schemes. Watch this space for a more detailed breakdown of the new Household Support Package coming soon!
8. Support for Low-wage Workers, Older Workers, Persons with Disabilities and Lower-income Families
Mr Heng announced that the budget allocation for the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant and Part-Time Re-employment Grant will be increased by more than $200 million.
Meanwhile, the creation of 1200 job and training opportunities for persons with disabilities has been announced by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Mr Heng also announced that more resources will be allocated to MSF to expand Community Link (ComLink), an initiative to support lower-income families with children residing in rental housing.
9. Increase in Petrol Duty with Immediate Effect
Petrol duty will be increased with immediate effect to combat climate change.
For premium petrol, duty will be increased by 15 cents per litre while duty for intermediate petrol will be increased by 10 cents per litre.
There would be rebates for road taxes to cushion this increase.
10. No GST Rate Increase in 2021
Although there won’t be any increase in GST this year, Mr Heng announced that the increase will have to be implemented sometime between 2022-2025, highlighting that without an increase in GST, Singapore will not be able to cover rising costs especially in healthcare expenditure.
However, the government has set aside $6 billion for an Assurance Package to help soften the impact of an increase in GST.
Mr Heng also announced that from 1 January 2023 onwards, the GST will be extended to imported low-value goods, which will level the playing field for local companies to compete with international businesses.
For more information about Budget 2021, click here.
Feature Image: Youtube
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