All you should learn about MOF’s S$1.1B Covid-19 assist package deal

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The Treasury Department (MOF) announced today (July 23) a $ 1.1 billion aid package to help businesses and workers cushion the impact of new Covid-19 restrictions after new clusters emerge.

Singapore has returned to phase two (reinforced warning) since yesterday, with stricter measures through August 18 to contain the worsening virus outbreak.

According to the MOF, the package will be funded through reallocations due to a one-time underutilization due to Covid-19, as well as an earlier budget allocation in the event of an expansion of support measures.

The support includes improved wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and rental facilities, more support for drivers of taxis and private vehicles, and a new aid fund for market and street vendors.

“In putting together this support package, the government took into account feedback from workers and companies and dedicated business and trade association executives to understand their concerns,” the ministry said in a statement.

1. Improved JSS support

JSS support will be increased up to 60 percent for the hardest-hit sectors such as food and beverage, gyms, performing arts organizations, and education centers from July 22 to August 18.

Meanwhile, support for sectors significantly affected by the restrictions will be increased to 40 percent.

This includes retail, affected personal care services, tourist attractions, licensed hotels, cruise and regional ferry operators, MICE operators, travel agents, museums, art galleries, cinema operators and other family entertainment centers.

JSS support for these sectors will decrease to 10 percent from August 19th through August 31st.

2. Rent relief for commercial real estate

Tenants of government commercial real estate receive an additional four-week rent waiver, and eligible tenants and owner-occupiers of private commercial real estate receive an additional two-week rent discount cash payment as part of the rental support program.

This will offset the rent for the entire duration of Phase 2 (HA) for government commercial real estate and for half the duration of increased measures for private commercial real estate.

Please visit the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS) website for more information.

Given that many tenants have indicated that not all landlords provided rental assistance, the MOF looked at how rental obligations could be fairly shared between the government, landlords and qualified tenants.

3. Reinforced Covid-19 Driver Aid Fund

In order to support taxi drivers and private rental car drivers, the government will increase the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) from July 22 to the end of September.

The Fund is currently providing eligible drivers S $ 10 per vehicle per day for 60 days from July and S $ 5 per vehicle per day for the next 30 days.

With this latest addition, eligible drivers will receive an additional S $ 10 per vehicle per day from July 22 to August 31, and an additional S $ 5 per vehicle per day in September.

4. Support for street vendors and market stalls

A new Market and Hawker Center Relief Fund will provide a one-time S $ 500 cash offer to all individual cooked food owners and market stalls in centers managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators.

This follows the announcement that earlier this month an additional month of subsidies for fees for table cleaning and central dishwashing services as well as a month of rent exemption for these stand owners were announced.

5. Support for other affected workers

To help other workers affected by the tightened measures, the government will also provide the temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant until August 31.

It offers a payout of up to SGD 700 for those who involuntarily took unpaid vacation and up to SGD 500 for those who lost at least half of their income for at least a month due to tightened security measures since May 16.

According to the MOF, existing scholars who still need help can apply for a second grant.

6. Grocery delivery expansion, e-commerce booster packs

Given the impact of stricter measures on the food and beverage sector, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will reintroduce the Food Delivery Booster Package to cover a portion of the cost of food delivery via food delivery platforms and third-party logistics partners for July 22nd-August 18th transactions.

For the use of food delivery platforms, ESG pays five percent of the commission costs charged. ESG pays 20 percent of the delivery costs for food deliveries via external logistics partners.

The extension of the e-commerce booster package, which is now available through November 16, will also support local retailers to bring local e-commerce platforms on board.

Retailers receive a one-time 80 percent support for qualifying costs for service fees levied by platforms such as Lazada, Qoo10, and Shopee, which are capped at S $ 8,000.

Please see the ESG website for more details.

Photo credit for selected images: Getty Images

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