Singapore DPM and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat delivered a budget speech on last Tuesday, 18th Feb 2020 amid outbreak of the new Coronovirus.

At first, he unveiled several challenges for the economy going forward such as the COVID-19 situation, Geopolitical tensions, Economic shifts, Ageing population, Technological disruptions and Decline in support of globalisation.

Subsequently, he outlined several strategies the Government will pursue by stabilising and supporting local enterprises and workers which might be affected in light of the COVD-19, to continue transforming and growing the local economy and enterprises, helping the citizens with cost of living and financial assistance for education, delaying the GST hike, providing healthcare and aged care supports, topping-up funds for social services, and to continue building the economy (including energy) and nation in a sustainable manner.

The most notable take away from the annual budget speech is the SGD 500 top up to all Singapore citizens that could be used to offset external training courses if they chose to. This had won praises from foreigners from as far as the USA. Another additional SGD 500 top up will be given also to those citizens who are in between 40 to 60 years old, as they had bore the brunt of being the most fragile segment of PMET being displaced due to economic transformation and digital technology disruptions across all industries.

The Government had always been a champion in emphasising the importance of education on its people. The funds for helping defraying the cost of education, in the form of transport rebates and school meal subsidies had never been missing from the annual budget. Higher bursaries for higher education were also introduced which will be about SGD 198 Million this year alone, and the spending for early childhood education will rise to SGD 2 Billion over the next few years.

Another notable item in this year budget would be the delay in the GST hike, which was touted from since last year. This could be to lessening the economic pains and to aid businesses and households in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially for the airlines, tourism, retails, food services and MICE sectors. Still, the GST rate will need to be increased from the current 7% to 9% by 2025, according to DPM Mr Heng Swee Keat.

Eligible citizens will also get to have rebates on their monthly residential (HDB) upkeep fees, also known as the Service and Conservancy Charges (SCC) which are levied monthly.

To help businesses defray with the wage costs, the Government will help offset up to 8% of the Singaporean and PR employees salary. These will be capped at SGD 3600 monthly per employee for three months. To do this, the Government would need to spend SGD 1.3 Billion for about 2 millions local employees here.

In addition, to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 on local economies, the Government will give a corporate income tax rebate up to 25% on the tax payable by companies. The rebate will be capped up to SGD 15,000 per company and will cost the Government another SGD 400 Millions which means that there are about 26000 local companies here in Singapore.

For sectors that are directly hit by the COVID-19 effects, financial assistances in the form of property tax rebates and rental waivers will be given out, from 10% up to 30% depending on their categories.

Lastly, perhaps the most exciting package would have to be the SGD 8.3 Billion funds allocated over the next 3 years in order to continue the economy and industry transformation which is currently underway. The funds could be used to assist SMEs in order to build digital capabilities and to assist SMEs to go international.

The Government also intend to phase out Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030 and had been incentivising the consumers to switch over to Electric Vehicle (EV) by lowering the vehicle registration fees and taxes.

EditorGlobalPoliticsThe Future2020,budget,SingaporeSingapore DPM and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat delivered a budget speech on last Tuesday, 18th Feb 2020 amid outbreak of the new Coronovirus. At first, he unveiled several challenges for the economy going forward such as the COVID-19 situation, Geopolitical tensions, Economic shifts, Ageing population, Technological disruptions...