COVID-19 Updates for Businesses in Singapore
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business sector has been devastatingly affected by the impact of the virus. Some businesses were forced to close down, while others significantly modified their business model to remain relevant.
As companies continue to overcome challenges in 2021, Singapore’s government thought it necessary to step up and take action. On the 16th of February, 2021, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced the national budget for the year. Therein, the government has issued the COVID-19 Resilience Package to provide aid to businesses and individual workers.
With an S$11 billion budget allocation, the government aims to extend existing schemes to support companies in obtaining working capital and protect employment by subsidizing worker’s wages.
Financial Support Measures
The first part of the Resilience Package details the government initiatives that aim to provide financial support to businesses. This includes:
- Temporary Bridging Loan Program (TBLP)
This program provides eligible enterprises with a working capital to set up and operate their businesses. From the date it was announced to 31st of March 2021, qualified businesses were permitted to borrow money from the government amounting to a maximum of S$5 million, with an interest rate of 5%. The government’s risk share from the total amount is capped at 90%.
From the 1st of April 2021 to the 31st of March 2022, the allowable loan for all applicants decreased to S$3 million. Additionally, the government’s risk share will be decreased to 70% within this time frame.
- Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan (EFS-TL)
With a maximum loan quantum of S$10 million per borrower and a S$2 million limit to borrower groups, this scheme aims to support business’ trade financing requirements. Originally implemented until the 30th of September 2021, the government has announced a six-month extension from the 1st of October 2021 until the 31st of March 2022.
- Enterprise Financing Scheme – Project Loan (EFS-PL)
The third scheme gives Singaporean companies access to funds throughout the different stages of their development until the 31st of March 2022. This includes a loan for:
- Working Capital;
- Construction, renovation, and purchase of land, factory, or building;
- Purchase of machinery, equipment, vessels, and other fixed assets; and
The maximum loan quantum for this scheme is S$30 million for domestic projects and S$50 million for overseas projects.
Employment Relief Measures
The second portion of the initiative deals with the government’s support for workers and businesses through the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) extension.
Originally introduced last year (2020), this scheme provides wage support for all employers to keep their employees employed. Since then, this program has been offered to companies under Tiers 1 and 2 until September 2021.
- Tier 1
For firms in the aviation, aerospace, and tourism sectors receiving 50% of JSS aid will continue to receive 30% wage support from April until June 2021, which will be decreased to 10% from July until September 2021.
- Tier 2
Businesses in the retail and food services, arts, entertainment, offshore and marine industries currently getting 30% JSS wage support will continue to receive 10% from April until June 2021.
Aside from the resilience package, the Singaporean government also implemented other tax measures within the 2021 budget to help companies recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
- Investment allowance scheme extended until December 31, 2026
- Internalization Scheme double tax deduction
- Retail bond cost tax deductions extended until December 31, 2026
- Financial sector withholding tax exemptions
Preventive Measures to Protect our Clients
As a way to protect our members and valued clients from the ongoing pandemic, we have implemented the following safety measures.
- All meetings, unless absolutely necessary, will be held digitally.
- Visitors who wish to enter the office building need to undergo mandatory temperature screening.
- Upon arrival on office premises, all visitors must check in using Trace Together App/Token.
- Visitors who show symptoms of infection, such as fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, and sore throat, will not be permitted inside the building.
We ask for your understanding and full cooperation as we navigate through these uncertain times.
For other questions and concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you.