SINGAPORE — Some 3,800 business entities in Singapore were formed in April, over 30 per cent lower compared with a recent five-year average in the same period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat in Parliament on Friday (5 June).
An average of 5,500 business entities was formed over the same month between 2015 and 2019.
Most sectors saw a fall in the formation of new business entities in April, said Chee, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
The cessation of business entities similarly numbered around 3,800 in April, which was comparable with the average of 3,700 recorded over the same month in the past five years, he added.
Chee was responding to a parliamentary question asked by fellow Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat on the number of business closures and formations since the start of the circuit breaker period, which lasted from 7 April to 1 June, as well as a breakdown by sectors and the ministry’s outlook on business trends.
“For the rest of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a severe impact on many sectors of our economy,” Chee noted.
These will include outward-oriented sectors such as wholesale trade, which will be adversely affected by the global economic slowdown, and the air transport and tourism sectors, which will continue to be badly affected by travel restrictions.
Sectors such as retail and food services will also be adversely impacted by reduced demand from tourists and local consumers, Chee added.
However, he noted that sectors, such as biomedical manufacturing and the information & communications sector, will continue to grow.
“Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Trade and Industry expects the formation of new business entities to remain subdued, while cessation numbers could see an uptick in the coming months,” said Chee.
“It is not possible to avoid firm closure and retrenchments, but we will help every worker.”
He cited an example of aid: the formation of the National Jobs Council chaired by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
The Council, which will also have representation from the unions, industry associations and employers, aims to support close to 100,000 jobseekers through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.
The package includes schemes to expand job opportunities in both the public and private sectors, provide a range of traineeships for jobseekers to gain industry-relevant experience and build professional networks, as well as increase training capacity to enable jobseekers to upgrade their skills.
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