Singapore

Scheme to help local firms manage cash flow to be extended

A scheme to help local companies manage their immediate cash flow needs will be extended for another six months.

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme will continue until September next year, at reduced levels, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced yesterday.

It is one of several measures that are being extended to ensure that "support does not taper off too sharply" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Further enhancements will also be made to existing schemes to help companies in both hard-hit sectors as well as those that are growing.

In his ministerial statement on the Government's strategy to emerge stronger from the pandemic, Mr Heng announced that the Enhanced Training Support Package will also be extended for a further six months, to June 30 next year, to provide enhanced course fee subsidies for firms in hard-hit sectors.

This will be available to companies in sectors such as air transport, retail and tourism, as well as marine and offshore, which was added to the list of eligible sectors yesterday.

The absentee payroll rates will also be lowered to 80 per cent from January, capped at $7.50 per hour, in recognition of the gradually recovering economic situation.

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This will help companies preserve their core capabilities and enable workers to retain specialised skills, said Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance.

The Economic Development Board and SkillsFuture Singapore said in a joint statement yesterday that they will work with appointed training partners to meet the demands of the marine and offshore sector.

Since March 1, more than 121,000 training places have been taken up across sectors under the Enhanced Training Support scheme, with more than 41,000 employees from 1,000 companies benefiting.

Other measures are also being put in place and extended for companies that are growing.

The higher tier of wage support, at 50 per cent, under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme, will be provided to companies that hire people with disabilities between September to February next year.

The JGI, which was announced in August, provides up to 50 per cent of wage support to firms that hire locals, on the first $5,000 of gross monthly wages for up to 12 months.

Further details on these support measures and schemes will be announced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

BUSINESS & FINANCE