SINGAPORE, June 21 — Eligible adult Singaporeans will receive a one-off cash payment of up to S$300 (RM952), on top of the regular GST vouchers to be disbursed this year, as part of an additional S$1.5 billion package to help more vulnerable groups cope with rising living costs, announced Finance Minister Lawrence Wong today (June 21).

Expected to benefit about 1.5 million Singaporeans, this special payment will apply to Singaporeans who are aged 21 and above in 2022, have an assessable income of less than S$34,000 for 2021, and whose homes have an annual value under S$21,000. Those owning multiple properties are not eligible.

The Ministry of Finance said in a press release that the package is intended to provide targeted and immediate relief for lower-income and more vulnerable groups in light of sharper than expected inflation that is experienced by major economies.

On top of helping families, the package, which is funded by “better-than-expected fiscal outturn” in financial year 2021 and will not be drawing on past reserves, will also provide support for businesses, workers and self-employed persons.

Introducing the measures at a press conference, Wong, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said the inflation situation will eventually stabilise both globally and within Singapore.

“But for now, we must expect price increases to continue in the coming months, and in particular energy prices are likely to remain elevated for the rest of the year. And this is why I decided to introduce a new S$1.5 billion support package to provide immediate and targeted relief for Singaporeans,” said Wong.

The measures in this package are tilted towards helping lower-income and vulnerable groups because they are the ones who are “disproportionately impacted” by the effects of inflation, he added.

He said that the government had to be careful to ensure that the support measures did not add to further inflationary pressure.

“I designed the (support) package carefully so that the package does not in itself spark more inflation in Singapore, which can easily happen because (when) you give more stimulus, the stimulus creates more inflationary pressure.

“That's why the package is weighted towards the lower income and more vulnerable segments in our society, who will bear the higher brunt of increased prices,” said Wong.

Cash vouchers, utility rebates for households

About 1.5 million Singaporeans will be eligible for the S$300 special payment, said MoF, adding that they will be notified of their payments in August.

In addition, all Singaporean households will receive a S$100 credit to offset their utilities bills. This will be disbursed by September.

MoF yesterday also announced permanent enhancements to social support scheme ComCare.

For example, a one-person household on ComCare Long Term Assistance will receive a larger cash handout of S$640, which is S$40 more than their current assistance.

A higher cash assistance and support for utility will also be given under the ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance. The exact amount will vary depending on the eligible household’s income, needs and composition.

Lower-wage workers and self-employed persons

Apart from direct help for households, more support will be rendered to lower-wage workers through the Progressive Wage Credit scheme.

To that end, the government will increase its co-funding for eligible wage increases in 2022 to 75 per cent, up from 50 per cent, for resident employees with gross monthly wages of up to S$2,500.

The co-funding will be bumped up from 30 per cent to 35 per cent for employees with a gross monthly wage between S$2,500 and S$3,000.

The Jobs Growth Incentive Scheme, which supports employers who hire vulnerable groups, will be extended to March 2023, from its initial expiry date of September this year.

Targeted assistance will also be disbursed to certain groups, in particular self-employed persons affected by fuel price increases.

Eligible taxi main hirers and private hire vehicle drivers will receive a one-off relief of S$150.

Drivers of combi-buses and limousines, as well as delivery drivers and riders, will be eligible to apply for the labour movement's Freelancers and Self-Employed scheme, also known as the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme, in which they can receive cash relief of up to S$300 if successful.

Support for businesses

The 11 slaughterhouses affected by the Malaysian ban on export of live chickens will receive aid, in the form of a one-month waiver of the foreign worker levy, said MoF yesterday.

For other businesses, MoF has introduced an Energy Efficiency Grant to provide for up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs — capped at S$30,000 per company — to help local small and medium enterprises in the food manufacturing, food services or retail sectors to cope with higher energy prices.

For firms facing cash flow concerns, the maximum loan quantum under the Enterprise Financing Scheme ― Trade Loan will be doubled to S$10 million, up from S$5 million, for a period between Jul 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

The government will continue providing 70 per cent risk share for this scheme during the period. ― TODAY