Singapore households got $2,000 per member from COVID-19 measures on average

Architectural panoramic shot of Toa Payoh central skyline on a sunny day. Greenery is interspersed among the dense high rise, typically colourful, public housing buildings (HDB flats)
Toa Payoh central skyline (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singaporean households received about $2,000 per member on average from COVID-19 measures introduced, according to a Ministry of Finance paper released on Thursday (11 February).

Titled “An Interim Assessment of the Impact of Key COVID-19 Budget Measures”, the paper looks at the relief measures from the five Budgets in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic totalling almost $100 billion.

The measures benefitting Singaporean households refer to the Care and Support Package (CSP), Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) and Temporary Relief Fund (TRF). Lower income households and those living in smaller HDB flat types received more support.

The CSP, which benefited all households, accounted for 70 per cent of the benefits received. Lower-income households had more support from components such as the Workfare Special Payment and Grocery Vouchers.

Commenting on the report, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said, “While many schemes are ongoing, our early findings are that the measures have helped to cushion the impact of the recession. Job losses were averted, and more help went to support families in need. These measures have also made a significant difference to keep our people safe and preserve our livelihoods.”

Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, added that the longer-term impact of the measures can only be observed with time.

According to estimates by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the five Budgets in 2020 supported gross domestic product growth by 5.5 percentage points last year. Coupled with accommodative monetary policy, the economy was estimated to contract by a smaller magnitude of 5.8 per cent instead of 12.4 per cent or more.

The total fiscal support, including the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), has helped save or create about 155,000 jobs on average over 2020 and 2021.

About 80 per cent of grants to businesses were for the JSS. Financing schemes have also supported firms, with more than 20,000 firms accessing loans worth more than $17 billion from March to December last year.

As of December, the SGUnited Jobs & Skills Package (SGUJS) placed nearly 76,000 jobseekers into job and skills opportunities, mostly in growth sectors such as information and communications, healthcare and manufacturing.

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