The new budget aims to help Singapore emerge stronger as a community from COVID-19.
In his Budget 2021 speech in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 16) Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed a range of plans and packages to help Singapore emerge stronger from COVID-19.
Here are five things you should know about the Emerging Stronger Together budget.
While the GST will not be increased this year, you can expect the rise to take place between 2022 to 2025.
To cushion the impact of the GST hike on lower income families, a $6 billion Assurance Package will be implemented. Singaporeans living in three-room HDB flats or smaller will also receive 10 years worth of additional GST expenses incurred.
Additionally, GST will be extended to include low-valued imported items costing up to $400 from Jan 1, 2023 onwards.
During this period of economic uncertainty, $900 million will be delegated to provide support to families.
This year, lower- and middle-income Singaporeans who qualify will receive a one-off $200 Cash Special Payment vouchers in June, while eligible HDB households will receive U-Save Special Payment vouchers between $120 and $200 in Apr and Jul.
Each Singaporean household will also receive $100 in Community Development Council vouchers, which are to be used at participating heartland shops and hawker centres.
For low-wage workers and mature workers (aged 40 and above), the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant and Part-time Re-employment Grant will increase by more than $200 million.
As for persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has announced the creation of 1,200 jobs and training opportunities.
The Inclusive Support Programme aims to support children with special needs by integrating the provision of early intervention and early childhood services. This will help them develop social skills.
The budget will also allocate more resources to MSF to develop Community Link, an initiative that helps families and children living in rental flats.
To tackle the effects of climate change, such as disrupted food production, there will be a $60 million used for the Agri-Food Culture Transformation Fund.
Electric vehicles will also be promoted, with $30 million put in for electric vehicle-related initiatives, including more charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
To discourage the use of internal combustion engine vehicles, petrol duty is to be raised with immediate effect. Intermediate grade petrol will increase by 10 cents per litre, while premium grade petrol will increase by 15 cents per litre.
In an effort to promote the usage of public transport, $60 billion will be set aside to expand and renew the rail network.
To support people whose jobs or incomes have been affected by the pandemic, an additional $5.4 billion will be added to the second trance of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.
Of that amount, $5.2 million will be allocated to the Jobs Growth Initiative, which will be used to support employers to hire more local workers. The additional money will be used to extend the qualifying window for new local hires by seven months, until Sep 2021.
The duration of wage support for mature local hires, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders will also be extended by up to six months.
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