Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will continue to receive support in relation to COVID-19 as part of additional support measures costing SGD1.2 billion (USD 900 million).
According to Singapore’s finance minister Lawrence Wong, the temporary bridging loan programme and the enhanced enterprise financing scheme trade loan will be extended for six months from October 1 to March 31, 2022.
When the support measures were announced in May for a period of heightened alert, the estimated cost was SGD 800 million (USD 600 million). Support was extended as Singapore moved from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of heightened alert.
The extended measures include enhanced Jobs Support Scheme support for affected sectors, rental relief, subsidies, and the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) for individuals.
SGD 600 million (USD 450 million) of the SGD 1.2 billion support package will come from capitalisation of development expenditure under the newly-passed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (SINGA), and the rest will be reallocated from underused development expenditure, mainly due to construction delays as a result of the pandemic.
Nicholas Hanna of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said, “The extension of the financial commitment is a direct attempt to offer a partial solution to the difficulties most SMEs are facing. SMEs represent 99% of the economy for South East Asia and Singapore is no exception. The government is protecting and supporting the most important part of its economy with the financial aid.”
It is reported that Lawrence Wong’s statement will be debated in parliament on July 26.
In June, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced an extension to the existing industry-wide loan repayment support measures for SMEs which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.