Singapore, 26 May 2020 – The Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) commends the S$33 billion Fortitude Budget unveiled by the Government to help Singaporeans and businesses recover and emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To expand rental relief for SMEs, the Government has implemented additional rental waiver measures. On top of the previously announced Property Tax Rebate, this brings the total amount of rental rebates for commercial SME tenants up to a total of 4 months, and up to 2 months for non-commercial tenants. With further oncoming legislation to ensure the implementation of these rental waivers, it will greatly alleviate the challenges that SMEs have been facing on this cost front for the first half of the year.
The extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) into the month of June highlights the Government’s awareness in recognising the additional help that businesses would require to kick-start business operations with the necessary safe-distancing, health and safety measures. June is going to remain a very painful month for SMEs, and as such, there is a great level of appreciation for this extension. Furthermore, for firms that are not allowed to resume operations in June, the Government will continue providing wage support at 75 per cent until August 2020 or till they are allowed to reopen.
ASME also applauds the Government’s move to refine the classification of firms in the different JSS tiers to give more support to sectors that have been more severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is demonstrative of the sharp ground sensing on the part of the Government to understand what businesses in these sectors are going through.
Apart from the above measures, ASME hopes to see further support for the construction sector if the situation continues to remain challenging in late June. The Government could consider extending the foreign worker levy waiver and rebate of S$750 till the end of September. Assistance could also be provided to companies that have to send their foreign workers for the necessary swab tests twice a month.
Lastly, ASME would like to commend the Ministry of Law for the enactment of the COVID-19 Temporary Relief Bill. In combination with the measures announced by the Ministry of Finance, the Bill has been a critical part of the total effort to ensure that there is clear structure and framework to manoeuvre, as well as swift, inexpensive mechanisms and processes for businesses and counterparties to find resolve.
Mr Kurt Wee, President of ASME, said, “Overall, the Fortitude Budget is a bold stroke and demonstrates tremendous resolve on the part of the Government to help businesses ride through the crisis, as well as regroup for the second half of the year. We have to be mindful that there still remains a battle ahead of us all. In times like these, I am grateful for the decades of prudence that Singapore has had as a country. Without it, we would not have the means, and legislative and executive capacity to see the country through this unprecedented crisis.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Lee Wan Rong
Senior Executive, Corporate Communications
DID: 6513 0894
Executive, Corporate Communications
DID: 6513 0894
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (ASME)
The Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1986 for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. With wide-ranging services and programmes, ASME strives to equip member SMEs with the business knowledge and market opportunities to help them grow their businesses.
ASME, as the champion of a pro-enterprise Singapore, bridges the public and the private sectors to promote a more conducive business environment which facilitates the start-up, growth and development of a larger pool of SMEs. The two ASME flagship awards – The Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Singapore Prestige Brand Award – are in recognition of SMEs’ successes.
ASME will continue to roll out new SME-relevant programmes to enhance its position as THE business association For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs.