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SINGAPORE — The Singapore government will provide an additional $187 million in financial relief for businesses in the country’s aviation sector, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (17 August).
These funds will be provided as part of an extension of support measures under the Enhanced Aviation Support Package till March next year, he said during his publicly broadcast Ministerial Statement.
“This will provide cost relief for our airlines, ground handlers, cargo agents, and airport tenants. This package will also support our local carriers to regain our air connectivity to the world,” said Heng, adding that the aviation, aerospace and tourism sectors were among the country’s hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In particular, Singapore’s position as a global business node depends on our connectivity as an air hub,” he said, noting that the Changi Air Hub and its adjacent industries contribute to over 5 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employ more than 190,000 people.
Heng said that the government has been helping to redeploy aviation sector workers to other areas where their skills are valued. Thus far, 500 air crew have been sent to hospitals as Care Ambassadors to support non-clinical work.
He added that this temporary redeployment programme would be scaled up to create around 4,000 new jobs – including permanent roles – in the healthcare sector alone.
Heng noted that businesses in the arts and culture as well as sports sectors would likely “take much longer to resume full activities”. He said the government is prepared to provide further support – in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – to such industries so as to “preserve core capabilities that we have built over the years”.
For firms in the nightlife industry, which may not be able to re-open anytime soon, the government will “help them transition to other activities or ease their exit”, said Heng.
Meanwhile, the tourism sector will also see a boost with the creation of $320 million worth of tourism credits to encourage citizens to explore more of their own country. These credits will come in the form of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers.
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