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Singapore Budget 2020 Liveblog: Live Updates And Real-Time Commentary

How does the Singapore Budget 2020 affect you? Watch this space for live updates and real-time commentary as the Budget is being delivered.


Singapore’s FY2020 Budget Statement will be delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on 18 February, 2020 at 3pm.

This page will be automatically refreshed periodically, so watch this space for the latest announcements and updates of the Singapore Budget as it happens, along with our real-time commentary on the potential effects it carries for Singapore and Singaporeans.


Singapore Budget 2020 Liveblog

5:18pm: (End of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Budget 2019 Statement)

5:16pm: Minister Heng assures us of the financial, human and social capital that Singapore already has and needs to harness, to help carry us through the future.

5:14pm: Deep structural shifts, coupled with the COVID-19 outbreak have resulted in a turbulent economy in an unexpected way.

Singapore Budget 2020 plans not to just help locals tide over these near-term challenges but aims to help them thrive in the future.

These include the $1.6 billion put in for the Care and Support Package and structural social subsidies in healthcare, education and housing.

Steps will be continued to mitigate and help the nation adapt to climate change.

5:02pm: Community partnerships are integral in shaping the future of Singapore. The Government will set aside $250 million to give greater momentum to partnership efforts.

The Our Singapore Fund (OSF) will be extended beyond 2020 to support more ground-up initiatives Singaporeans are passionate about, across a wide range of domains.

4:56pm: For FY2019, we expect an overall budget deficit of $1.7 billion, or 0.3% of GDP. The deficit is $1.9 billion lower than the $3.5 billion deficit forecasted a year ago, due to lower than expected expenditures from unforeseen project delays.

When we exclude the Government’s top-ups to funds and NIRC from past reserves, the expected basic deficit is $5.1billion or 1.0% of GDP.

In the coming year, considerable uncertainty due to heightened risks of global economy being affected by the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak.

We are adopting an expansionary budget position. Our sufficient accumulated fiscal surplus can fund the overall deficit for FY2020 and needs to address near-term concerns such as the 12.3billion deficit, and stabilisation and support package.

Overall, we expect an overall deficit of 10.9 billion or 2.1% GDP.

There is no draw on past reserves.

4:54pm: Fiscal buffers need to be tended to so we can bounce back quickly if necessary.

4:53pm: Minister Heng emphasises the need for an equitable fiscal strategy.

4:51pm: Besides our natural environment, there is a need to continue to invest in our external, internal, and digital security, to keep Singapore and our families safe and secure.

Non-conventional threats are a growing concern. $1 billion will be set aside over the next three years, to build up the Government’s cyber and data security capabilities.

4:47pm: There is an existential threat of rising sea levels. The government will set up a new Coastal and Flood Protection Fund, with an initial injection of $5 billion. It will be topped up whenever the fiscal situation allows for it.

4:39pm: There is a commitment of $1billion in research for renewable energy, and other green measures called Urban Solutions and Sustainability.

Phase-out ICE vehicles and have all vehicles running on cleaner energy by 2040, such as hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs).

Commercial Vehicle Emissions Scheme will be introduced for light goods vehicles. Cars and taxis will have an additional EV Early Adoption Incentive if they purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle. This incentive will be implemented for 3 years from January 2021, and those who purchase fully electric cars and taxis will receive a rebate of up to 45% on the Additional Registration Fee, capped at $20,000.

Road tax methodology for cars will be revised from January 2021. Across the board reduction in road tax for EVs and some hybrids.

Working with the private sector for increased deployment by electric car chargers by 2030.

4:35pm: Minister Heng emphasises the importance of tackling these 3 issues, as a small island nation: Climate change, security and fiscal sustainability.

4:30pm: In the spirit of supporting the vulnerable and under-represented communities, top-ups of $750million will be provided to Eldercare fund and $500million to the ComCare fund.

4:23pm: CPF not enough for a small segment of Singaporeans, such as those with no income in their younger years or those with no families. For greater financial security in retirement, Silver Support provides cash payouts for this group.

Quarterly cash payouts will be raised from $750 to $900 per quarter. Eligibility criteria for the Silver Support Scheme are increased. It will have an expanded threshold and per capita household income to cover more seniors. There will also be a new payout tier for seniors who earn between $1300 to $1800. Eligible seniors will be notified by CPF board by December 2020 and there is no need to apply. 1000 more seniors are expected to benefit from the Silver Support Scheme.

4:20pm: The CPF Scheme will offer more help for Singaporeans tap on housing assets, an introduction of a matched retirement savings scheme and an enhanced silver support scheme.

4:19pm: The Basic Retirement Sum will be revised regularly in line with an increase in income levels. It will be adjusted at the same 3% per year for the next 2 cohorts. The BRS will be $93,000 for cohorts turning 55 in 2021, and $96,000 for those turning 55 in 2022.

4:15pm: To help all Singaporeans with their household expenses during this period of uncertainty, the government will provide a Care and Support Package for households, amounting to about $1.6 billion.

All Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020, will receive cash payouts of $100, $200 or $300 depending on their income levels.

Eligible HDB households will have doubled U-Save rebates through GST vouchers depending on their flat type.

Every Singaporean with a child under 20 years old will also receive a one-time payout of $100.

4:09pm: MOE Financial Assistance Scheme will be increased by $9million. The annual bursary quantum for pre-university students will be raised from $900 to $1000. The cost of bursaries for higher education will increase from $148million to $198million per year.

Transport subsidies for all students and school meal subsidies for secondary school students will also be increased.

Singaporean child will receive over $180,000 in education subsidies by the time he/she turns 18.

4:05pm: Minister Heng re-emphasises Budget 2020’s plan to continue to care for families, support seniors in their retirement years, while promoting a stronger giving culture.

4:03pm: S-Pass sub-DRCs of the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors will be reduced from 20% to 15%.

Foreign worker levy rates will be maintained for all sectors in 2020, in view of the virus outbreak and shocks and uncertainties.

3:53pm: For mid-career workers currently in their 40s and 50s, the government will launch a new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package. The plan aims to double employability of mid-career workers by 2025. The government will provide an incentive to employers hiring local jobseekers aged 40 and above through a reskilling programme. For every eligible employed worker, they will receive 20% salary support for the first 6 months, capped at $6000 in total.

3:50pm:
 A new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit will be provided to cover 90% of out-of-pocket costs for business transformation, re-design, re-skilling purposes.

The Productivity Solutions Grant will be expanded to include support for pre-approved job redesign consultancy services. Workplace learning capabilities will be also deepened.

3:47pm: The government will continue to invest in the Next Bound of the Skills Future programme. A one-off Skills Future credit top-up of $500 will be available for use for eligible Singaporeans from 1st October 2020. It will expire in 5 years by end 2025 to encourage people to take quick action and to reskill during the economic slowdown.

3:44pm: A new Asia-Ready Exposure Programme will be introduced to increase local youths’ visits to cities in ASEAN, China, or India. The government will also enhance support levels for internships under the Global Ready Talent Programme.

3:41pm: Enterprise Development Grant Provided by Enterprise Singapore will continue to be provided and its reach will be extended. A new Enterprise Transform Package, with a focus on leadership, which aims to support business leaders of promising SMEs in achieving the next bound of growth will also be introduced.

3:37pm: Financial assistance will be provided for enterprises at every stage of growth.

To catalyse investment into deep-tech startups, an additional $300 million will be set aside under the Startup SG Equity. This is expected to draw in $800million worth of private funding, giving deep-tech startups better access to capital, expertise and industry networks.

Enterprises will also be supported by SME Go Digital programme and the Market Readiness Grant. The Enterprise Grow Package is also enhanced to help enterprises identify business opportunities and take the first steps to enter new markets.

3:32pm: Heartland Enterprise Upgrading programme will be launched to support Merchants’ Associations to drive transformation of heartland enterprises.

3:30pm: $8.3billion will be provided to enable Transformation and Growth efforts. The funds will cover these three aspects, that will establish Singapore as the Global-Asia node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise:

  • Enabling stronger partnerships
  • Deepening enterprise capabilities
  • Developing our people

3:26pm: Minister Heng highlights the 4 goals for Budget 2020:

  • Grow economy, transform enterprises, create opportunities.
  • Care for Singaporeans in every stage of their lives.
  • Build a liveable and sustainable Singapore in the face of climate change. Secure sovereignty as a nation and ensure fiscal sustainability
  • Mobilise Singaporeans to work together in this community. To build a nation and home they’ll always call their home.

3:24pm: Minister Heng raises the concerns in the upcoming year. This includes an ageing population, slowing economic growth and globalisation issues among others. He emphasises the need to not reduce social benefits provided to Singaporeans during these uncertain and challenging times.

3:18pm: On top of the assurance package, which is aimed to help Singaporeans offset the increase in GST for 5 years, the permanent GST vouchers will continue to be provided, and will be enhanced when the GST is increased.

3:15pm: Minister Heng emphasises the importance of having a sound fiscal system to support Singaporeans through uncertain times and unpredictable surprises. In 2018, the GST was announced that it will be increased to maintain revenue projections. The GST increase will not be taking effect in 2021 and will remain at 7% due to the virus outbreak.

The increase will still be going forward, but it will happen at more appropriate timing. An assurance package (worth $6billion) will be provided then, to cushion the increase for Singaporeans when it increases to a higher rate). Under this package, every adult Singaporean will receive a cash payout of $700 to $1,600 over five years.

3:12pm: Sectors directly affected by COVID-19 will receive enhanced support under the Adapt and Grow scheme. Tourism, aviation, retail, food services, point-to-point services are industries at risk. Support will be enhanced for redeployment programmes into these sectors, and the funding period for re-skilling will be extended from 3 months to 6 months.

Together with the Job Support Scheme, these policies are targetted to retain and train more than 330,000 employees.

3:10pm: To help enterprises access working capital, the Working Capital Loan for enterprises will be increased for a year. The maximum loan quantum will be raised from $300,000 to $600,000. This will increase the government’s risk share from 50% to 70%, to 80% and is hoped to support viable SMEs.

3:07pm: The Wage Credit Scheme will be enhanced. Currently, it co-funds the wage credit scheme for Singaporeans earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4000 dollars.

The monthly wage ceiling will be raised from $4,000 to $5,000, for qualifying wage increases given in 2019 and 2020, so that more Singaporean employees will benefit.

3:05pm: Minister Heng talks about the trends sweeping the new decade for the nation: economic slowdown, climate change, and the sudden storm of a virus outbreak (COVID-19), which has borne direct economic impact of the outbreak. The forecasted GDP growth outlook has been lowered from 0.5 to 2.5%, to -0.5% to 1.5%.

An additional S$800million will be committed to to the Ministry of Health, to frontline agencies who have been fighting and containing the outbreak. This is on top of the substantial resources already put in to support public health efforts.

Two special packages with a total of $5.6billion will be introduced. The first is the Stabilisation and Support Package for workers and enterprises. The second is the Care and Support Package for households, to support those going these uncertain times, and alleviate concerns over the cost of living.

3pm: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has started delivering this year’s Budget speech.

2:45pm: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be delivering this year’s Budget speech momentarily at 3pm. This will be his fifth Budget speech as Finance Minister.


Watching Singapore Budget 2020

Those who are interested to catch Minister Heng’s Singapore Budget 2020 speech can do so via the following platforms:

– Television: Channel NewsAsia (with Chinese voice-over in dual sound mode)
– Radio: NewsRadio 938LIVE
– Mobile App: Mediacorp’s MeWATCH (previously Toggle) (on iOS and Android)
– BrowserSingapore Budget 2020 Webcast

Singapore Pre-Budget Reading List

This year’s Singapore Budget 2020 happens amidst Singapore’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 viral outbreak and its subsequent economic fallout.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who will be delivering his fifth Budget speech, has mentioned that the speech will include the government’s measures to help businesses and Singaporeans get through this period of uncertainty. This includes rebates and packages that will aid households with addressing concerns about living expenses.

Other possible measures include offsetting healthcare costs, personal income tax relief or vouchers for GST (goods and services tax), as well as a one-off relief package for lower-income households to offset expenses.

Financial investments in improving the nation’s capabilities to handle medical crises have also improved. For example, this includes the setting up of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the betterment of healthcare infrastructure and technology.

Read Also: The National Budget: Spending Today vs Investing For The Future? Which Is More Important?

Read Also: The Singaporean Journey: Through The Lens Of The Singapore Budget

Read Also: Behind The Budget Statement: Here’s How Singapore’s National Budget Is Planned Each Year

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