MOF: COVID-19 Budget Measures Saved Jobs, Mitigated Longer-Term Economic Scarring

These were some of the findings published in the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF’s) Occasional Paper titled “Assessment of the Impact of Key COVID-19 Budget Measures”.
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 17 Feb 2022

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has estimated that some 165,000 local jobs were saved by the Government’s Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) between March to December 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.

This was one of the findings published in the ministry’s Occasional Paper titled “Assessment of the Impact of Key COVID-19 Budget Measures” on 17 February 2022.

First introduced back in February 2020 during the Unity Budget announcement, the JSS has been providing wage support to help employers retain their local workforce during this period of economic uncertainty.

Up to December 2021, the scheme has disbursed a total of $28 billion.

Beyond the JSS, the Occasional Paper also showcased how other key measures have helped alleviate the short-term impact of COVID-19, mitigating longer-term economic scarring.

SGUnited Jobs and Skills

As of October 2021, the SGUnited Jobs and Skills (SGUJS) package had matched over 166,300 PME and non-PME workers to both jobs and skills opportunities. Of this overall number, some 122,300 were job placements.

The SGUJS goal was to expand job and traineeship opportunities in both the public and private sectors, and provide enhanced training support for jobseekers.

According to MOF, the package helped jobseekers across all career stages hone their skills and build their networks, with majority of trainees being able to find employment within six months of participating in the programme.

Jobs Growth Incentive

Introduced to stimulate hiring and creation of jobs for locals, the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) has since helped with the hiring of some 47,000 local workers.

The JGI was found to have increased the proportion of mature workers hired as well as improved the average wages of new hires.

COVID-19 Recovery Grant

Aimed at providing temporary financial support to lower- and middle-income earners who have experienced involuntary income loss due to COVID-19, the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) has, as of December 2021, supported some 27,500 workers.

Enterprise Financing Schemes

Three financing schemes helped support over 27,000 enterprises in accessing loans of over $24.7 billion between March 2020 to December 2021.

They were the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBL), the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Working Capital Loan, and the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan.

MOF said that the TBL, which was the main financing scheme, helped firms of all sizes to alleviate their financial distress, as well as supported employment in firms with 50 or less employees.