08 Sep Singapore to disburse S$ 2 billion in aid to freelancers in 2020 – Double the original budget
As COVID-19 continues to rock the global economy, governments around the world are trying to shoulder the burden as much as they can, making it easier for the common man to make ends meet. The Singapore Government is certainly no exception. Just one example of Government funded support is the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), which helps self-employed individuals such as taxi drivers, private-hire car drivers and real estate agents tide over the Covid-19 pandemic. First announced in March, SIRS involves three quarterly cash pay-outs of S$ 3,000 each in May, July and October of this year.
The scheme, which was originally slated to provide S$ 1.2 billion in assistance, will provide S$ 2 billion in income relief by year’s end – an almost 100% increase. Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on 4th September that more than S$ 1.1 billion had already been disbursed to about 190,000 people. “We have been exercising flexibility in the qualifying criteria to support more self-employed persons. About two in three applications have been approved,” she said. Those who have been unsuccessful in their applications have been redirected to the COVID-19 Support Grant or other appropriate agencies for follow-up assistance.
The Government has also provided S$ 10.5 billion in assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) this year. SMEs employ 73% of local workers and, therefore, support the livelihood of over 2 million Singaporeans. The relief funding provided by the government will help firms pay the wages of several resident employees.