Home News Singapore Budget 2019: S$8 Billion For Merdeka Generation Package; Foreign Workers Quota...

Singapore Budget 2019: S$8 Billion For Merdeka Generation Package; Foreign Workers Quota Reduced

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Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the keenly awaited Budget 2019, which focuses on “to build a strong, united Singapore”. Click To Tweet

What’s The News?

The fact that global business dynamics is swiftly changing due to emerging technologies was acknowledged, and everyone was asked to buckle their seat belts and be prepared.

Here are the major highlights from the Budget announcements:

1. $S 8 Billion For Merdeka Generation Package

Govt. has announced a special package of S$8 billion for Merdeka Generation. Those Singaporeans who were born in the 1950s fall under this category, and now, they will receive a Medisave top-up of S$200 every year for 5 years, starting from 2019.

The Minister said that this generation “played a critical role” in shaping Singapore’s present, and helped to develop a multicultural, multiracial society.

Besides Medisave top-up, the eligible Singaporeans (around 500,000) will also receive special insurance packages, subsidized bills at hospitals/polyclinics (25% off) and more.

2. Foreign Workers Quote Reduced In Services Sector

It was announced that the quota for foreign workers in the services sector inside Singapore will be reduced to 35% by 2021.

This has been so that Singaporeans receive  “good jobs and opportunities”.

The Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) is the permissible ratio of foreign workers to local workers, and this will be reduced in two steps: from 40% to 38% on January 1st, 2020, and to 35% on January 1st, 2021.

DRC for other sectors, except services remain unchanged.

3. S$1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus

Sir Stamford Raffles arrived on the shores of Singapore 200 years ago, and to celebrate this occasion, a special corpus of $1.1 billion has been announced, called Bicentennial Bonus.

Economically backward Singaporeans will be the recipient of special incentives and bonuses, as part of this Bicentennial Bonus.

More details here.

4. Scale-up SG programme and the Innovation Agents Program Announced

In order to help struggling businesses, two new programmes have been announced: Scale-up SG programme and the Innovation Agents Programme.

Under these programs, the startups and the SMEs will be provided with expert help and assistance besides providing incentivized training for emerging technologies.

Scale-up SG will be launched in partnership with Enterprise Singapore and active participation from the private and public sectors. Innovation Agents Programme will help to match the talent with the appropriate business need.

More details here.

5. More Power To Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme

Lower-wage and older workers will be now provided with added benefits and monetary benefits under the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme.

More cash benefits and CPF top-ups have been announced, for those who are in the bottom 20% of the economic pyramid.

More details here.

Besides these, several interesting tax reforms have been announced, to aid working women and independent entrepreneurs in the country. Special support for automating businesses too have been announced, which will benefit the manufacturing sector.

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