Emerging Stronger Together Budget 2021
Last year, the Singapore Government dedicated a total of close to S$100 billion for an unprecedented five budgets to combat the impact of COVID-19. As the country climbs back from the steep recession, the latest budget is calibrated towards the safe reopening of the economy and those who lagged behind, including the hardest-hit sectors and vulnerable social segments as well as initiatives that aim to generate the most bang for the buck in the long term.
For Budget 2021, the government will extend another S$11 billion dollars for the COVID-19 Resilience Package. The focus for measures targeted at businesses shifts away from helping companies survive the crisis to preparing them for growth opportunities in the recovery phase.
Extension of Jobs Support Scheme
The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for hard-hit sectors (Tier 1 and Tier 2) will be extended. Tier 1 sectors such as aviation, aerospace and tourism will have the JSS extended for six months with the highest wage support of 30% for April – June 2021 and 10% for July – September 2021. For Tier 2 sectors such as retail and built environment, JSS will be extended for three months (April – June 2021) with wage support at 10%.
The extension of JSS for the retail sector provides some breathing space for retailers who have seen lower footfalls. Nonetheless, this support may not be adequate for retailers in the CBD and tourist belts, such as Orchard Road, which have seen a significant drop in footfalls due to higher adoption of remote work and travel restrictions.
The government plans to reduce emissions by encouraging higher adoption of cleaner-energy vehicles, reinforcing their 2040 goal for all vehicles in Singapore to be low emission vehicles.
By 2030, the government will deploy 60,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points at public car parks and private premises, more than double the previous target of 28,000 charging points. Among other measures, about S$30 million will also be set aside for EV-related initiatives.
As demand for EVs gathers pace with the government rolling out EV-related incentives, developers and building owners can be enticed to install more EV charging points. Given that current charging points take about 30 minutes for an EV to be fully charged, smart monitoring systems will be required to ensure an optimised charging experience for users. This would further spur an increased adoption of smart building technology and a greater focus on smart facility management solutions.
Household Support Package
Over the next four quarters (April, July, October and January 2022), each household will get a support package, which includes S$100 worth of Community Development Council vouchers that can be used at participating heartland shops and hawker centres as well as a one-off GST Voucher cash special payment of S$200 for eligible lower-income Singaporeans, beyond the regular GST Voucher cash payout.
This support for household expenditure will reduce some financial burden for families and workers, while encouraging their retail spending. In synergy with the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme, the package will further benefit retailers, particularly those in the suburban areas.