Singapore announces 80.8 billion USD budget plan for 2021 hinh anh 1Petrol duties have been raised for the first time in six years. (Photo:
Singapore (VNA) – Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat on February 16 announced the nation’s 107 billion SGD (80.8 billion USD) budget plan in 2021 to provide immediate help to sectors under stress, and invest in the country’s long-term future.

The Singaporean government will spend 700 million SGD for wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which will be extended by up to six months to help businesses that remain badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to retain workers, he said.

The subsidies - which range from 10 percent to 30 percent - will cover wages paid from April to September for firms in sectors worst hit by the crisis: aviation, aerospace and tourism. For firms in other industries that have been hit hard, including food services, retail, marine and offshore, as well as arts and entertainment, the extension will be from April till June.

More than 25 billion SGD has been granted to the JSS programme so far, providing assistance for over 150,000 business owners in the past 17 months, he added.

As much as 11 billion SGD will be set aside for the nation’s COVID-19 Resilience Package. This will help safeguard public health and support the workers and businesses that need help, with extra money going towards the hardest-hit sectors like the aviation.

In addition, Heng pledged to allocate 24 billion SGD across the next three years to enable Singapore’s firms and workers to emerge stronger from the crisis. The country's investments to equip its people to seize opportunities and help its businesses innovate are what distinguish it from others, said Heng.

He also unveiled a 900 million SGD Household Support Package of utility grants and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and cash vouchers to help all families, but targeted most at lower-to middle-income households.
Besides, Heng said the planned GST hike will take place between next year and 2025, and subject to the economic outlook. The increase, from 7 percent to 9 percent, was announced in the Budget 2018.

Heng explained without GST surge, Singapore could not satisfy the increasing spending, particularly in healthcare. The government’s spending in the field tripled in one decade, from 3.7 billion SGD in 2010 to 11.3 SGD in 2019.

Furthermore, Heng added Singapore will see a budget deficit of 11 billion SGD, or 2.2 percent of the country’s GDP. This marks the second consecutive year with a budget deficit, following last year’s figure of 64.9 billion SGD./.