The second and most business-related prong of the Package is to continue support for workers and businesses where needed. So far, Singapore has committed over $25 billion to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) – introduced in the 2020 Budget – and supported over 150,000 employers for up to 17 months.In the recently announced Budge, the MoF has committed to continue to provide the JSS targeted towards sectors that continue to be hard hit. The JSS will be therefore extended for firms in Tier 1 and 2 sectors by up to six months, covering wages paid up to September 2021. This will provide continued support for businesses and workers in sectors that continue to be hard-hit amidst the protracted economic downturn:
The GIA serves to catalyse cross-border collaboration between Singapore and major innovation hubs globally. The GIA network currently has 15 city links, including four Southeast Asian cities – Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Manila. I will expand it to more than 25 cities around the globe over the next five years.
Among the many measures introduced by the Budget 2021, particularly interesting is the new Emerging Technology Programme. This will encourage more mature enterprises, from micro and small, to medium and large enterprises, to invest in new and emerging technologies to sharpen their competitiveness.
The new Emerging Technology Programme will co-fund the costs of trials and adoption of frontier technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and trust technologies. This will support commercialisation of innovations and diffusion of technology downstream.
As the employment landscape is undergoing fundamental changes, the Singapore government has launched several initiatives, the most important being the Jobs Growth Incentive and the Wage Credit Scheme.
The Jobs Growth Incentive (or JGI) supports employers to accelerate their hiring of local workers between September 2020 to September 2021 (inclusive), to create good, long-term jobs for locals. If the Qualifying Criteria for the Firms are met - employers must have an overall increase in local headcount and increase in locals earning of at least $1,400 per month, compared to their local workforce in the baseline month – for non-mature local hires there is an incentive 25% on first $5,000 of gross monthly wages for up to 12 months.
The current budget has extended the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) introduced the first time in Budget 2013 and already extended in the Budgets 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020. In Budget 2020, the government co-funding ratios for wage increases in 2019 and 2020 was further raised from the current 15% and 10%, to 20% and 15% respectively. The qualifying gross wage ceiling was also raised from $4,000 to $5,000 for both years.
In the Budget 2021, the Scheme has been further extended by one year to 2021, with the government co-funding ratio remaining at 15% and the qualifying gross wage ceiling at $5,000. Gross monthly wage increases (at least $50) previously given in 2019 and 2020 by the same employer will continue to be co-funded if they are sustained in 2020 and 2021.
Lastly, the budget 2021 has introduced the provision to reduce the Manufacturing S Pass Sub-Dependency Ratio Ceiling, or sub-DRC, in two steps, to 18% from 1 January 2022, and to 15% from 1 January 2023.
The last section of the budget is focused on the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
This is an ambitious long-term plan that builds on ongoing efforts, to secure a green, liveable, and sustainable home for generations of Singaporeans to come. The main measures introduced are: