Singapore has navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with great success. But now is not the time to relent on what has worked so well for us. The COVID-19 Resilience Package sets forth a three-pronged approach to safeguard our nation, our people and our economy by protecting public health and ensuring we re-open safely, supporting our workers and businesses where necessary and finally, providing targeted support to sectors that are still under stress.
1. Public health and safe re-opening
To safeguard the health of Singaporeans through vaccination, keep up precautionary measures and a multi-layered defence system of contact tracing, testing and safe distancing.
2. Support for workers and businesses
a. To support targeted sectors which are hard-hit by COVID-19, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be extended for targeted sectors:
b. To facilitate workers moving to jobs in growth areas, certain schemes under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, including the Jobs Growth Incentive, will be extended.
c. The COVID-19 Resilience Package also funds the following measures which were previously announced:
— Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan which had been enhanced and extended till
30 September 2021
— The COVID-19 Recovery Grant to support workers who lost their jobs or experienced significant income loss
3. Support for specific sectors
More targeted support will be provided for the worst-hit sectors as follows:
The COVID-19 Resilience Package is welcomed by Singaporeans, workers and businesses and it is necessary and timely to weather the COVID-19 economic impact.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the various sectors differently, the COVID-19 Resilience Package has introduced measures to help specific sectors such as aviation, tourism, land transport and arts, culture and sports that continue to be severely impacted.
The road to recovery is still filled with uncertainty. While it is still too early to tell if the COVID-19 Resilience Package can sufficiently offset the impact on the worst-hit sectors, it strikes the right balance between protecting businesses and jobs in the short term while signalling the need for restructuring in the medium to long term.
Key consideration areas for businesses:
Prepare for new realities.
Businesses should take advantage of these measures to sustain and upgrade their capabilities and transform themselves.
Some jobs may not return after COVID-19.
Businesses need to transform to a new way of working in the new reality. The earlier businesses transform digitally, the better position they will be in to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is going to be a long-term challenge.
Hence, businesses must continue to look for long-term solutions in the area of digital transformation, re-skilling and re-training of employees and constant innovation to protect and preserve jobs so as to emerge stronger.
The SGU JS Package was launched in May 2020 to support workers affected by COVID-19. Targeted at creating job opportunities, providing traineeships for job seekers, providing support for skills upgrading and providing hiring incentives for employers, S$3 billion was allocated last year.
The second tranche will be allocated under the SGU JS Package and distributed to the following components of the SGU JS Package:
1. Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)
2. SGUnited Traineeships (SGUT)
3. SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Attachment (SGUP-CA)
4. SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training (SGUP-CT)
5. SGUnited Skills (SGUS)
As mentioned by DPM and Minister for Finance in his Ministerial Statements on 17 August and 5 October 2020, the Government will look into extending selected support schemes in order to support workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SGU JS package helped to place nearly 76,000 individuals into jobs, traineeships, attachments, and skills training as of end of year 2020. The extension of the SGU JS Package, with recalibrated parameters, is a welcome initiative and this should provide opportunities for the workforce until the situation improves.
Longer term, as companies and industries transform, and new growth areas emerge, having the right skillsets and agility are paramount. The second tranche of the SGU JS Package, on top of the S$3 billion allocated last year, will help move local workers into new growth areas.