Additional measures to help Singaporean youths announced at Resilience Budget

The measures will help first-time job seekers and graduates.

Nigel Chin
Nigel Chin

Published: 26 March 2020, 4:35 PM

In light of the implications the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Singapore’s economy, the government announced a Supplementary Budget on Thursday (Mar 26).

Called the Resilience Budget, it is the first time the Singapore government will draw on reserves since the 2009 global financial crisis to help Singaporeans.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the whole package in the resilience budget will be worth $48 billion, which is more than seven times the $6.4 billion in the first tranche of COVID-19 support measures.

“Altogether, we are dedicating close to $55 billion to support people in this battle, amounting to 11 per cent of our GDP,” he added.

Here are some measures that will help Singaporean youths:

1. Jobs created, Traineeships launched to help first-time jobseekers

The Government announced a SGUnited Traineeships initiative that will help create up to 8,000 traineeships for first-time jobseekers.

The traineeships will be across both large and small enterprises and is aimed at helping first-time jobseekers develop skills and boost their employability. This includes science and technology traineeships in research and development labs, and deep-tech start-ups.

Measures implemented to support workers by creating job opportunities.

The SGUnited Jobs Initiative aims to create 10,000 jobs over the next year and the public sector will speed up the hiring plans for both permanent and short-term temporary roles in COVID-19 related operations. The government will also work with businesses, trade associations and chambers to identify job opportunities.

Apart from that, Workforce Singapore (WSG) will launch a virtual career fair on on Friday. More than 2,200 vacancies will be immediately available, with a focus on short-term temporary positions.

NUS student Shani Yong, 23, who graduates this year, said the news gave her “hope”.

“I just had a call with my career advisor because I was feeling quite hopeless with the whole job market situation right now, but this piece of news is giving me hope,” she said.

2. Loan repayments, interest rates for graduates suspended 

Apart from jobs and traineeships, loan repayments and interest rates for graduates who have taken a government loan for their university and polytechnic studies will be suspended. This will take effect from Jun 1 this year to May 31 next year.

Aside from that, all hikes in government fees and charges will be deferred for one year. This will take effect from Apr 1 this year to Mar 31 next year.

Those struggling with HDB mortgage payments will have their late payment charges on arrears suspended for three months too.

3. Payouts from government 

The one-off cash payout of $100 to $300 for all adult Singaporeans as part of the Care and Support package announced at Budget 2020 will be tripled. This means that Singaporeans, aged 21 and above, will get between $300 and $900, depending on their income.

For parents with young children, there will be additional help too. The additional cash payout to each parent will be tripled from $100 to $300.

4. Help for self-employed

Initiatives to help self-employed persons (SEPs).

Self-employed workers, including media and art freelancers, will receive direct cash assistance to tide them through this difficult period. The government will use $1.2 billion from the SEP (Self-Employed Persons) Income Relief Scheme to provide those eligible with $1,000 a month, for a nine-month period.

Damon Sim, a 26-year-old events freelancer, believes that the payout will “make a difference”, regardless of the amount.

“Cash payouts, big or small, will still make a difference during this crisis. I think the package will help Singaporeans and local businesses to ride out the storm,” he said.

“But we also need to start depending on ourselves, not just the Government to get out of this sticky situation because we have no idea when this will end.”

Additionally, the SEP Training Support Scheme will be extended to December. From May 1, the hourly training allowance will be raised from $7.50 to $10.

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