Singapore Budget 2018: Key Updates for Local Businesses
Amid new forces reshaping the world today, Budget 2019 charts the way forward in a changing economy.
FOUR MAJOR SHIFTS
1. Shift in global economic weight towards Asia
2. Rapid technological advancements
3. Changing demographic patterns
4. Decline in support for globalisation
1. SHIFT IN GLOBAL ECONOMIC WEIGHT TOWARDS ASIA
i. Scale Up SG Program
New programme to help high-growth local firms innovate, grow, and internationalise.
ii. Innovation Agents Program
Pilot for enterprises to tap on experienced industry experts for advice on innovation and commercialisation opportunities.
iii. SME Co-invest Fund III
$100 million investment by Government to catalyse private sector funding in SMEs that are ready to scale up.
iv: Enterprise Financing Scheme
- Streamlining of existing financing schemes to better support SMEs to access bank financing.
- Enhanced support for companies incorporated for less than five years.
- Extension of enhanced support for working capital to support SMEs, until 31 March 2021.
vi. Global Ready Talent Program
Support for sending young Singaporeans on local and overseas internships.
Support for sending Singaporeans for overseas job postings.
vii. Enhancing Connectivity
Increasing the capacities of our airport and sea port will strengthen our role as a key node within Asia and to the world.
2. RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS
i. SMEs Go Digital Program
Expansion of Industry Digital Plans to more sectors, and more choices of pre approved digital solutions.
ii. Digital Services Lab
Pilot programme to address digitalisation challenges in services sectors, through collaboration with industry and research partners.
iii. Automation Support Package
Two-year extension to support businesses in deploying impactful and largescale automation technologies (until 31 March 2021).
iv. One-Stop Portal for Firms to Transact with the Government
Launch of pilot portal for the food services sector, to streamline regulatory touch-points with Government, from up to 14 to 1.
v. Host Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) and Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) Together
- Enhance Singapore’s position as an innovation node through bringing together start-ups and investors.
- Hold SWITCH and SFF in the same week in mid-November.
vi. Centres of Innovation in Aquaculture and Energy
Translate research into deployable solutions to create economic opportunities and improve resilience in food supply and energy.
3. CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC PATTERNS
To support Singaporeans throughout different stages of life - access to opportunities, greater healthcare assurance, with more help for the less advantaged.
i. Bicentennial Community Fund
$200 million fund to provide dollar-for-dollar matching for donations made to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) from 1 April 2019 until 31 March 2020, with a cap.
ii. Bicentennial Bonus
For lower-income Singaporeans
- Up to $300 in GST Voucher — Cash (Bicentennial Payment) for 1.4 million Singaporeans.
- Workfare Bicentennial Bonus: 10% of total WIS payouts for work done in 2018 in cash, with minimum payout of $100.
For income earners
- 50% personal income tax rebate, capped at $200, for Year of Assessment 2019.
For parents with school-going children
- $150 top-up to Edusave accounts for all students at primary and secondary levels.
- Up to $500 top-up to Post-Secondary Education Accounts for Singaporeans aged 17 to 20 (who do not already receive Edusave top-up).
For older Singaporeans
- $300 to $1,000 in CPF top-ups to eligible1 Singaporeans with lower CPF balances.
iii. Merdeka Generation Package ($6.1 billion set aside)
Passion Silver Card Top Up
- One-off $100 top-up to support active lifestyles.
Medisave Top Ups
- $200 per year from 2019 to 2023.
Subsidies for Outpatient Care
- Special subsidies at CHAS GP and dental clinics, higher than CHAS Blue subsidy rates.
- Additional 25% off subsidised bills at polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics.
iv. CareShield Life Protection Package
- Additional participation incentive of $1,500 for joining CareShield Life.
- Together with $2,500 incentive announced earlier, MG seniors will receive a total of $4,000 in participation incentives if they join CareShield Life.
v. Enhanced Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
- Extend CHAS to all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income.
- Extend subsidies for common illnesses to citizens with CHAS Orange card.
- Increase subsidies for complex chronic conditions.
v. Financial Protection for Long Term Care ($5.1 billion set aside)
- Help Singaporeans with long-term care, e.g. CareShield Life premium subsidies and participation incentives, ElderFund.
v. Five Year Medisave Top Ups
$100 MediSave top-up per year (from 2019 to 2023) for citizens born in 1969 or earlier, and do not receive Merdeka or Pioneer Generation benefits.
vi. Comcare Long Term Assistance
Higher cash assistance rates for those permanently unable to work and have little family support.
vii. Strengthening Philanthropy and Volunteerism (SG Cares)
- Nurture youth multipliers in IHLs to give back to the community.
- Encourage senior volunteerism for a more purposeful retirement.
- Strengthen culture of care and contribution within the Public Service through Public Service Cares.
viii. Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT)
Strengthen after-school care and support for disadvantaged students in school-based Student Care Centres.
ix. Enhanced Workfare Income Supplement Support (WIS)
Increase wage support for almost 440,000 Singaporeans.
x. Special Employment Credit & Additional Special Employment Credit
Extend for one year until 31 Dec 2020 to encourage employers to hire older Singaporean workers.
xi. Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) Rebate
930,000 households to receive 1.5 to 3.5 months of rebates.
xii. Public Transport Fund
Top up $10 million to help lower-income families with transport expenses.
4. DECLINE IN SUPPORT OF GLOBALISATION
i. Ensure Resilience of Tax System
- Reduce GST import relief.
- Reduce alcohol duty-free concession for travellers from 3 litres to 2 litres.
II. Restructuring Diesel Taxes
- Reduce Special Tax for diesel vehicles.
- Increase diesel excise duty by $0.10 per litre, to $0.20 per litre.