Available Support from Singapore Government for SMEs During COVID-19 Outbreak
The government of Singapore has prepared a S$4 billion Stabilization and Support Package (as part of the Unity Budget) that contains a range of measures to help workers to remain employed and aid companies with cash flow. As both the global economy and COVID-19 outbreak continue to worsen, the Government has launched a second stimulus package (known as the Resilience Budget). The Resilience Budget, worth a tremendous amount of S$48.4 billion, aims to support households, help workers stay employed and provide support for enterprises & SMEs to rebound stronger when the timing is right.
- Government Grants
- Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
- Productivity Solution Grant
- Enterprise Development Grant
- SMEs Go Digital
- SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)
- Enterprise Leadership for Transformation
- The Unity, Resilience & Solidarity Budgets
- Government Assistance for specific Sectors
Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
- Businesses must be registered in Singapore with an overseas sales target less than $100,000 in each of the last three preceding years, have minimum 30% local shareholding, not more than S$100 million in Group Annual Sales Turnover; OR have less than 200 employees to take benefit of this government grant.
SMEs can receive support up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at a maximum of $100,000 per company that covers:
1. Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
2. Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
3. Overseas market setup (capped at S$30,000)
The MRA grant will be offered until 31 March 2023 according to Enterprise Singapore.
Productivity Solution Grant
- This government grant is available for businesses that are registered and operating in Singapore, purchase/lease/subscription and use the IT solutions or equipment in Singapore, and have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) is designed to support companies who are keen to adopt IT solutions to digitalise business processes. The subsidy is raised to 80%.
The scope of generic solutions will also be expanded to Customer Management, Data Analytics, Finance Management, HR Management, Inventory Management, Machine Effectiveness, Marketing & Content Management, Project Management, Quality Assurance, and Workflow Tracking & Management.
PSG has been enhanced to include Laptop Bundled Remote Working Solutions (Office 365, One Office and SingTel Business Laptop) for eligible enterprises.
The PSG grant will be offered until 31 December 2020 according to Enterprise Singapore.
Enterprise Development Grant
- To qualify for the EDG government grant, you are required to be registered and operating in Singapore, have a minimum of 30% local shareholding, and be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project.
This programme is launched to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who have the ambition to upgrade their business, innovate or venture overseas.
The maximum support level will be raised to 80% from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. For enterprises that are most severely impacted by COVID-19, the maximum support level may be raised to 90% on a case-by-case basis.
SMEs Go Digital
- The SMEs Go Digital programme aims to help SMEs in Singapore use digital technologies and build stronger digital capabilities to seize growth opportunities in the digital economy.
The programme covers three key steps:
- Use the Industry Digit Plan (IDP) for the respective sectors to discover if in fact the business is digital-ready.
- Take up pre-approved solutions with grant support to get started.
- Take a look at where SMEs can go for support.
Support networks include the SME Centre, Consultancy Services (SME Digital Tech Hub), Government Grants, Project Management Services, and IMDA pre-approved SME-friendly digital solutions.
SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)
- Employers who have contributed at least S$750 Skills Development Levy, employed at least three Singapore Citizens (SCs) or Permanent Residents (PRs), have not been qualified at any of the earlier periods and are eligible for the grant.
- 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020
- 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020
- 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020
- 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020
To encourage employers to train and upskill their workers, S$3,000 of the credit should be used for workforce transformation programmes and employers can only use up to S$7,000 for enterprise transformation. This means that employers can use up to $10,000 for workforce transformation, but can only use up to $7,000 on enterprise transformation programmes.
Enterprise Leadership for Transformation
- The ELT is suitable for Singapore Citizens (SCs) or Permanent Residents (PRs) business owners/leaders who have grown their businesses beyond S$5 million, with the commitment to bring their enterprises to the next stage and see through the programme.
The programme harnesses the collective expertise of knowledge partners, financial institutions, and experienced industry partners, to sharpen the leadership and business development skillsets of participating SME leaders and their business transformation efforts. The programme learning will cover three areas: executive learning, business growth plan development, market immersion.
Eligible enterprises can qualify for up to 90% funding of programme fees.
The Unity, Resilience & Solidarity Budgets
Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
- The JSS will provide wage support to employers, helping enterprises retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) during this period of economic uncertainty.
The Government will co-fund the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each employee for 9 months, with the level of support varying for different sectors.
Wage Credit Scheme
The Wage Credit Scheme is qualified only for Singapore Citizens who:
- Received CPF contributions from a single employer for at least 3 calendar months in the preceding year;
- Have been on the employer’s payroll for at least 3 calendar months in the qualifying year
- Have at least $50 gross monthly wage increase (up to the Gross Monthly Wage ceiling)
- Must not also be the business owner of the same entity
The government co-funding ratios for wage increases in 2019 and 2020 will be raised to 20% and 15% respectively. The qualifying gross wage ceiling will also be raised to $5,000 for both years.
Deferment of Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Payments
- Eligible for all Singapore enterprises.
Companies with Corporate Income Tax (CIT) payments that are due in the months of April, May, and June 2020 will be deferred for three months and collected in July, August, and September 2020 respectively.
Another important note, the automatic deferment of CIT payments will complement the automatic extension of additional two months interest-free instalments on ECI as announced in the Unity Budget 2020 on 18 February 2020.
Property Tax Rebate for Non-Residential Properties
(1) Qualifying non-residential properties that are badly affected by COVID-19 like hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants
(2) Other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties
Property on category #1 will receive a 100% rebate. While property #2 will get a 30% rebate on their property tax payable.
Applied for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020
Property owners are also obliged to pass on to their tenants the full amount of property tax rebate received for each property tax account that is attributable to the tenanted property.
Enhanced Rental Waivers
(1) The stallholders of hawker centres
(2) Commercial tenants (accommodation, retail, F&B, recreation, entertainment, healthcare, etc)
(3) Government agencies such as JTC, SLA, HDB, URA, BCA, NParks, and PA
The Government will provide a rental waivers to tenants in three industries:
- A minimum waiver of $200 per month for category #1.
- Two months’ worth of rental waiver in total for category #2.
- Half a month’s worth of rental waiver to category #3.
Corporate Income Tax Rebate
- Eligibility to claim this goverment grant is to have a registered business trusts and Singapore branches of foreign companies.
All companies will receive a 25% CIT rebate for the Year of Assessment (“YA”) 2020. The rebate is capped at S$15,000.
There is no action required from companies to obtain the CIT rebate. The CIT rebate will be computed automatically. Companies that have filed and paid their estimated tax liability for YA 2020 can expect a refund equal to the amount of CIT rebate allowed to them.
Foreign Workers Levy
- Employee with S Pass holder can apply for foreign workers levy goverment grant.
To help ease labour costs, the government will waive the monthly Foreign Worker Levy due in April 2020. The government will also provide employers with a Foreign Worker Levy Rebate of S$750 for each work permit or S Pass holder.
Employers of Employment Pass (EP) holders will not receive the rebate as there is no foreign worker levy. They will continue to receive daily support of $100 for their EP holders on QO or SHN if these workers are unable to telecommute.
Government Assistance for specific Sectors
Food and Beverage
- Food delivery booster package: The package will help food & beverages sector to reduce the business costs of selling on three key food delivery platforms – Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood.
- E-Commerce booster package for retailers: The Package supports 90% of the cost for retailers to on-board e-commerce platforms for domestic and/or overseas markets. Any need for manpower to kick-start their e-commerce journey will also be provided.
- Funding For Cooked Food Stallholders Who Sign Up For Food Delivery Services: A one-time funding of S$500 will be given to stallholders who engage food delivery platforms or third-party logistics partners to deliver food to their customers during the period between 7 April and 31 May 2020.
Arts & Culture
The government will (i) co-fund 25% of the wages of every local employee under the enhanced JSS, (ii) offer two months of rental waivers under the Arts and Culture Resilience Package, (iii) support employees of arts organisations and arts to upskill and grow capabilities through training programmes, including online courses under CDSA, (iv) provide assistance to step-up on digitalisation efforts in line with the Government’s Smart Nation Vision.
The Government will provide cost relief to airlines, ground handlers and cargo business such as landing and parking charges, rental rebates for airlines lounges and offices within Changi Airport, etc as well as maintaining the minimum level of air connectivity to allow Singaporeans to return to Singapore and for transportation of goods.
$90 million will be set aside to help the tourism sector to rebound strongly, following the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of STB’s measures, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will be providing time-limited, enhanced training support for the tourism sector. Workforce Singapore (WSG) also enhanced its Job Redesign Place-and-Train Programme for the Hotel Industry and rolled out a new Digital Marketing Place-and-Train Programme.
Cruise ships and regional ferries with a port stay of not more than five days and passenger-carrying harbor craft will be given a 50% port dues concession to cruise ships and regional ferries with a port stay of not more than five days, and passenger-carrying harbour craft. Additionally, there will be an additional 35% rebate on counter rentals and overnight berthing for regional ferry operators and 100% waiver for their public licence fees for one year.