BUDGET 2021

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  1. Jobs Support

The job support scheme (JSS) was first introduced to Singapore in February 2020 to provide wage support for employers to retain their employees. Under the JSS, the Government co-funds the employee’s wages (for up to $4,600), and this was to last until March 2021.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the JSS will be extended by 6 months under Budget 2021 for businesses falling under Tiers 1 and 2. This will cover wages paid until September 2021.

The wage subsidies range from 10 to 30 per cent during the extended period, with most of the support going towards the hardest hit sectors, aviation and tourism.

The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package will get a S$5.4 billion boost to support the hiring of 200,000 locals and provide up to 35,000 training opportunities this year.

The bulk of this, or S$5.2 billion, will go towards extending the Jobs Growth Incentive that provides wage support for new local hires.

2. Tax Update

The GST hike will not take effect this year, instead it will happen sometime between 2022 and 2025. It is needed to meet Singapore’s rising recurrent needs, in particular healthcare spending, he added. But there will be some relief when the tax is eventually raised, in the form of a S$6 billion Assurance Package.

Singapore will extend GST to imported low-value goods with effect from Jan 1, 2023.

This will help to ensure a level playing field for local businesses to compete with overseas counterparts, especially as e-commerce sales grow.

Singapore cleared 21.2 million low-value goods through air cargo checkpoints last year – double the amount cleared in 2019, as more turned to online shopping amid COVID-19 safe distancing and travel restrictions.

3. Green Plan

DPM Heng identified three moves for Singapore’s green plan 2030.

Firstly, on technology, S$60 million will go towards a new Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund to support technology adoption in the food sector and improve Singapore’s food resilience.

On capital, the Government will issue green bonds on select public infrastructure projects, with up to S$19 billion worth of such projects identified as a start.

One such project will be the Tuas Nexas development combining waste and water treatment facilities.

Thirdly, on the “actions of our people” front, the public sector will lead by example and commit to more ambitious sustainability goals under its GreenGov.SG initiative.

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