Business Loans

COVID-19: List of Assistance, Loans & Cash Flow Support for SMEs (Updated for Fortitude Budget 2020)

Eric Koh
April 3, 2020
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As mentioned in previous articles, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the hardest-hit during this pandemic-related slowdown of Singapore’s economy.

In response, government and private organizations have launched multiple initiatives over 2 months to support this vulnerable group of enterprises.

This article seeks to consolidate and provide a summary of all initiatives for SMEs. Please let us know if we have excluded anything!

Government Organization Initiatives

Organization Scheme
IRAS Job Support Scheme (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help employers retain their local employees.

Employers may receive 25% cash grant on the first $4,600 of the gross monthly wages of each local employee on their CPF payroll for up to 9 months.

Additional support (50% & 75%) will be extended to severely affected sectors.

(Update 1) Support increased to 75% for all employees for the month of April

(Update 2) 75% wage support extended for May 2020, shareholders-directors with NOA less than $100,000 will now be covered.

(Update 3: Fortitude) JSS will be extended by 1 month, for a total of 10 months.

Companies not allowed to resume business will continue receiving 75% support until operations resume or August 2020, whichever is earlier.

Certain industries are upgraded to a higher base-tier of support of 50% and 75%.

(Update 4: Ministerial Statement - Aug 2020) JSS will be extended for another 7 months, covering wages paid from Sep 2020 up to Mar 2021.

In total, the government is providing support for wages for 17 months from Oct 2019 - Mar 2021.

However, levels of support will be reduced to 0% (for less affected industries) - 50% (for heavily affected industries).

Ministry of Manpower Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)

(Ministerial Statement - Aug 2020)

To support hiring in growth industries in Singapore, the government will co-pay up to 25% of salaries of all new local hires for one year, subject to a cap.

For those aged 40 and above, the co-payment to firms will be up to 50%.

IRAS Enhanced Property Tax Rebate for Non-Residential Properties (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners alleviate the cost of operations.

Property tax for qualifying commercial properties has been reduced by 30%, while tourism and event-related venues have been waived completely.

Legislation will be introduced to ensure landlords pass down property tax savings to tenants.

(Update: Fortitude) The government will provide a new cash grant (0.64 - 0.8 months) to offset rental costs in addition to property tax rebates.

Various Rental Waivers for Tenants in Government-Owned / Managed Non-Residential Facilities (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners alleviate the cost of operations.

Subject to qualification:
  • Stallholders of Hawker Centre and Markets = 3 months' rental waiver (Fortitude Budget Update: 2 additional months)
  • Commercial Tenants (F&B, Recreation, Healthcare, Accommodation) = 4 months' rental waiver (Fortitude Budget Update: 2 additional months)
  • Other Non-Residential Tenants (JTC, SLA etc.) = 1 month rental waiver (Fortitude Budget Update: 1 additional month)
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2020 Rental Waivers for Tenants in non-Government-Owned / Managed properties

This scheme aims to help business owners alleviate the cost of operations.

Subject to qualification:
  • Commercial Properties will receive a total of 4 months' rental waiver (2 months by government, 2 months by landlord)
  • Industrial & Office Properties will receive a total of 2 months of rental waiver (1 month by government, 1 month by landlord)

Learn more: How Are SMEs Protected Under The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act? (Updated)

Link, COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020
Ministry of Manpower Foreign Worker Levy Waiver & Rebate (Budget 2020, Solidarity Budget, Fortitude Budget)

This scheme aims to help business owners alleviate the cost of operations.

Foreign worker levies due in April 2020 will be waived in light of the circuit breaker measures announced to prevent a further spread of COVID-19.

Employers will also received a Foreign Worker Levy Rebate of $750 in April 2020 from levies paid this year, for each Work Permit or S Pass holder.

Rebates may be received as early as 21st April 2020.

(Update) Businesses that are not allowed to resume operations on-site immediately after the circuit breaker ends on 1st June will have the foreign worker levy waived for up to two more months. On top of that, a 100% waiver and $750 rebate will be distributed in June 2020, and a 50% waiver and $375 rebate distributed in July 2020.

IRAS Deferment of Income Tax Payment for Companies (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners with their immediate cash flow needs.

All companies with company income tax (CIT) payments will be granted a 3-month deferment. CIT payments due in the months of April, May and June 2020 will be deferred to July, August and September 2020 respectively.

No applications required.

Enterprise Singapore Enhanced Financing Support (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners with their immediate cash flow and operational requirements.

Eligible SMEs will have access to:
  • Enterprise Financing Scheme – Working Capital Loan (EFS – WCL) = $1 million (90% government risk-share)
  • Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan (EFS – TL) = $10 million (90% government risk-share)
  • Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) = $5 million (90% government risk-share)
  • Loan Insurance Scheme = 80% government subsidy
Application through Enterprise Singapore’s participating financial institutions (PFIs).

Enterprise Singapore, IMDA Building Capabilities and Resilience (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners upgrade their employees’ capabilities, preparing them for the eventual economic upturn.

  • Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) = Increased to max 90% subsidy
  • Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) = Increased to 80% subsidy and increased scope to digital collaboration tools
SkillsFuture Enhancement to Course Fee Subsidy and Absentee Payroll (Budget 2020)

This scheme aims to help business owners upgrade their employees’ capabilities, preparing them for the eventual economic upturn.

  • 90% subsidy for all courses approved by SkillsFuture Singapore
  • Employers can receive 90% of the hourly basic salary (capped at $10 per trainee – hour) of each employee they sent for courses
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Supporting SMEs with Access to Bank Credit and Insurance Cover

This scheme aims to help SMEs with their immediate cash flow requirements.

  • SMEs may opt to defer principal payments on their secured term loans (property loans) until 31st December 2020.
  • SMEs may apply to their insurers for instalment payment plans for their general insurance policies that protect business and property risks.
Enterprise Singapore E-Commerce Booster Package for Retailers (SMEs) to Diversify

This scheme aims to help SMEs increase sales and diversify their sales channels through online platforms.

  • E-Commerce for domestic market = One-time 90% subsidy on qualifying cost (capped at S$9,000)
  • E-Commerce for international market = One-time 90% subsidy on qualifying cost for a year
Singapore Fintech Association (SFA), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), NTUC, e2i S$125 Million Package for Financial Institutions and Fintech Firms to Strengthen Long-Term Capabilities

The support package, funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund, has three main components:
  • supporting workforce training and manpower costs;
    • a new Training Allowance Grant (TAG) to train and deepen the capabilities of employees.
    • increased course fee subsidies for SCs and PRs attending relevant IBF courses to 90%
    • double the salary support for FIs to hire SC fresh graduates or workers from other sectors and place them in talent development programmes
  • strengthening digitalisation and operational resilience; and
    • new Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) to support digitalisation in smaller FIs and fintech firms
  • enhancing fintech firms’ access to digital platforms and tools.
    • provide all Singapore-based fintech firms six months’ free access to API Exchange (APIX), an online global marketplace and sandbox for collaboration and sales
Singapore Fintech Association (SFA), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) & AMTD S$6 Million Grant Scheme to Support Singapore Fintech Firms

The grant aims to support Singapore-based fintech firms amid the challenging business climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comprises two components:
  • S$1.5 million Business Sustenance Grant (BSG) - Eligible Singapore-based fintech firms can receive a one-time grant for up to S$20,000 to cover day-to-day working capital expenditures such as salaries and rental costs.
  • S$4.5 million Business Growth Grant (BGG) - Eligible Singapore-based fintech firms can receive up to S$80,000 for successful Proof of Concept (POC) to a panel of financial institutions

The BGG will also provide funding for the salaries of undergraduate interns, capped at S$1,000/month per intern.

Application for the grant opens on 18th May 2020 and will be available until 31st December 2021.

NETS Boosting E-Payment Adoption

The government will now provide a bonus of up to $1,500 for stallholders in hawker centres, coffee shops and industrial canteens to adopt SGQR unified e-payment solutions.

Sign up with NETS.



Private Organization Initiatives

Organization Scheme
Minterest Pte. Ltd., Fundtier Pte. Ltd., Goldbell Group SME Help Funds– Affordable Financing for SMEs during COVID-19

  • Minterest: Up to $50,000 loan, 6 months tenure, 0.5% interest per month, 2% fee
  • Fundtier: Up to $10,000 loan, 0% interest for 6 months, 0% fee (conditioned upon using their partner’s services)
  • Goldbell: $50,000 loan, 0.5 – 0.75% interest per month, $80 fee

Minterest News, Fundtier News, Goldbell News
Goldbell Group & CIMB HOPE Fund collaborates with CIMB for priority access to Enterprise Singapore's funding schemes

This applies to SMEs that have successfully applied for the S$50,000 HOPE Fund. They will receive a 2% facility fee waiver and four-month interest rebate capped at S$1,000

CIMB's Government-backed COVID-19 Term Loans
  • CIMB C-19 Term Loan: Up to S$5 million, 2.88% effective interest rate, 5 years tenure, 2% facility fee waived
  • CIMB BizAssist Term Loan: Up to S$1 million, 3.75% effective interest rate, 5 years tenure, 2% facility fee waived

Goldbell's YBLN HOPE Fund, SMEs on Hope fund get priority access to CIMB Singapore's Covid-19 funding schemes
Singapore Banks & Financial Institutions Lower Interest Rates for Government-Backed Business Loans

As mentioned in the previous article, some of Enterprise Singapore’s Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) have started to reduce their interest rates for government-backed business loans by 50%.

This applies to:
  • Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP)
  • Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme – Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL)

Refer to our updated article about the latest interest rates.
Singapore Fintech Association & Razer Supporting Singapore FinTech Ecosystem amidst COVID-19

Interested Fintech companies can get assistance in the form of bridge financing, equity, equity-linked instruments ranging from USD$100,000 to USD$1.5 million.

Request for a Business Loan Now! operates a Business Loan Marketplace that allows an SME to connect to multiple lenders with just one application, allowing the SME to know who its prospective lenders are and the rates that they offer, in a very short time.

Leading digital loan marketplace Lendingpot connects SMEs to its network of 45 lenders comprising relationship managers from banks, financial institutions, and private and peer-to-peer lenders in Singapore. It aims to help SMEs overcome the information asymmetry problem and lack of transparency prevalent in the SME financing sector by offering SMEs financing options such as business term loans, property loans, revenue-based financing, credit lines, working capital loans, bridging loans, invoice financing, and more.

About the author

Eric Koh is passionate about helping SMEs grow and has spent years interacting with business owners at OCBC and IFS Capital. He is interested in 70s rock ‘n roll, the odd novel and copious amounts of historical trivia.

SME Loan
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Government Support
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