Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many have been waiting for this day – Announcement of SG Budget 2020. At a time of an uncertain economic outlook, many are hoping that the Budget can help to cushion some of the unexpected business and job losses.

So what do the measures announced on Tuesday (Feb 18) mean for freelancers and business owners?

On an individual level, the Budget seeks to help Singapore household to cope with living expenses under the $1.6 billion Care and Support package by:

1. CASH PAYOUT

All Singaporeans above the age of 21 will receive an one-off cash payout between $300 – $100 depending on their income level. Additional $100 top up for each parent with at least one child age 20 and below. 

2. U-SAVE GST VOUCHER

The Government will double the amount of rebate for utilities expenses that eligible HDB dwellers get, via a one-off GST Voucher – U-Save Special Payment. They will also extend the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebate, of between 1.5 and 3.5 months, by another year.

3. FOR SINGAPOREANS AGED 50 AND ABOVE

A S$100 top-up to the PAssion Card will be given to Singaporeans aged 50 and above this year, including seniors from the Pioneer and Merdeka generations.

4. GST INCREASE GETS PUSHED BACK

No GST increase in 2021. Under this Assurance Package for GST, every adult Singaporean will get a cash payout of between S$700 and S$1,600 over five years.

5. SKILLSFUTURE TOP UP

 To support Singaporeans to continue learning, there will be a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of S$500 for every Singaporean aged 25 and above. On top of that, every Singaporean aged 40 to 60 will also receive a special SkillsFuture Credit top-up. This is in addition to the S$500 SkillsFuture top-up announced earlier.

There are 3 key thrusts to drive Singapore’s transformation and growth strategy. They are: Enabling stronger partnerships; deepening enterprise capabilities; developing Singapore’s people. 

What does this means to media businesses:

1. Training of workers

New skillsfuture enterprise credit scheme to help companies defray 90% of the out of pocket costs of business transformation, job redesign and skill training.

2. Help for Enterprises with cash flow 

A new 25% Corporate Income Tax Rebate will be made available to all tax-paying companies. The rebate will be 25 % of tax payable, and capped at S$15,000 per company. 

3. Help for Enterprises to retain workers

Two more new schemes will be introduced: 

(a)  Jobs Support Scheme 

The Jobs Support Scheme will help firms retain local workers. For every local worker in employment, the Government will offset 8% of the wages, up to a monthly cap of S$3,600 for three months. Payment will be given to employers by end of July this year.

(b) Special Wage Credit Scheme

The Wage Credit Scheme will support wage increases for Singaporean employees. Currently the Wage Credit Scheme co-funds wage increases for Singapore employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$4,000.

4. Enterprises transformation

The SMEs Go Digital scheme which aims to help SMEs build digital capabilities will be expanded and Market Readiness Assistance scheme which helps companies in their internalisation efforts will also be enhanced including an extension of 70% support level for another 3 years.

Overall, the Budget has identified key support areas and would help to lessen the financial burdens in the short term. The key is in the long term and how freelancers or media businesses can make full use of the skillsfuture credit and other enterprise schemes to upgrade their skills and improve their business productivity. 

Media businesses should consider making use of the SME go Digital and Market Readiness Assistance scheme to improve business processes and expand into new markets. We should take this opportunity to re-look at our business model and finetune and expand our business horizon so that we can take full advantage when the economy picks up.

 

For more information on the Budget, please refer to:

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/budget-2020-heng-swee-keat-parliament-12445534