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Singapore’s Budget 2020 faces global uncertainty head-on

On February 18th, Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, delivered the Singapore Budget 2020. This year’s budget plan, titled “Advancing as One Singapore”, comes at a trying time for the city with a slowing economy caused by the COVID-19 virus. Budget 2020 focuses on strategic ways to meet current challenges and develop a stronger and steadier Singapore during global uncertainty.

In this Pacific Prime Singapore article, we’ll take a closer look at the most exciting developments from Budget 2020 concerning businesses and Singaporeans.

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Singapore Budget 2020 Highlights

In his longest speech as Finance Minister to date, Heng disclosed an SGD $83.6 billion budget for 2020 and a four-part plan that is intended to support and unify Singapore during current uncertainties. The rather large expenditure, which is a 7 percent increase from financial year (FY) 2019’s SGD $78.2 billion, comes as the Lion City tackles COVID-19 and long-term global issues such as a weakening economy and an aging population.

Tackling COVID-19

Protecting families and containing the spread of the latest coronavirus is the immediate concern, said Heng. A larger portion of the SGD $800 million that is set aside for dealing with COVID-19 will go to the Ministry of Health, in addition to the “substantial resources” already committed to public health annually.

Health concerns aside, Heng acknowledged that locals are understandably concerned about the impact the coronavirus will have on jobs and businesses.

Businesses get help

Workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can expect to receive help while additional relief will be given to the other sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The Stabilization and Support Package will offer cash flow and job support so firms can retain and retrain employees. What’s more, extra measures will be introduced for the tourism, retail, aviation, food services, and transport services sectors, which have been directly impacted by the coronavirus.

Jobs support

Heng said that he would help workers stay employed and support businesses by covering their wage cost through the new Job Supports Scheme and the existing Wage Credit Scheme.

The new Jobs Support Scheme will make it easier for businesses to retain their local employees. The scheme involves offsetting 8 percent of wages for every Singapore citizen and permanent resident worker for a three-month period. This will have a monthly wage cap of SGD $3,600, and employers will receive payment by the end