SINGAPORE: Singapore has announced a S$1.5 billion support package to provide targeted and immediate relief for the lower-income and more vulnerable groups amidst inflationary pressures.
The republic’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) said the package, which would also extend more help for local companies in their enterprise and workforce transformation, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.
"This builds on the support measures announced in Budget 2022 and April 2022. The package is funded through the better-than-expected fiscal outturn for the financial year 2021, arising from higher revenues due to the stronger economic recovery in 2021, and lower-than-budgeted spending on COVID-19 response measures as the Omicron variant turned out less severe than anticipated.
"There will be no further draw on Past Reserves,” it said in a statement here today.
The MOF said the ongoing war in Ukraine and COVID-19 restrictions in parts of the world have disrupted supply chains, and resulted in higher energy and food prices.
"These factors have led to a sharper than expected rise in inflation across the major economies. It is likely that global inflation will remain high for some time, and may even increase further before it stabilises and gets better.
"Likewise in Singapore, we must brace ourselves for higher prices over the next few months. In particular, energy prices are likely to continue to remain elevated over the second half of the year,” said the ministry.
The support package, among others, would see about 1.5 million Singaporeans eligible to receive a Special GST Voucher Payment of up to S$300 in August 2022.
A S$100 Household Utilities Credit, meanwhile, would be disbursed to every Singaporean household to help offset utilities bills.
The MOF added that fuel price increases have increased costs for many self-employed persons who depend on their vehicles for their livelihoods, while the export ban on live chicken from Malaysia has cut off the livelihoods of chicken slaughterhouses.
"We will provide targeted relief for these groups,” it said.
The relief would see eligible taxi main hirers and private hire car drivers receiving a one-off relief of S$150 in August 2022.
Singapore’s 11 chicken slaughterhouses, whose employees’ livelihoods depend on the supply of live chickens, would be provided one month of Foreign Worker Levy waiver.
"This will help preserve industry capabilities amid the export ban,” it said.
As for businesses, the MOF said more generally, the government would roll out measures to help businesses cope with rising energy costs, through co-funding investments in more energy-efficient equipment.
"This is a more sustainable way to help our businesses manage energy prices which are beyond our control,” it said.