Government AffairsAviation and tourism-related sectors to receive wage support and relief measures to retain local workers

Singapore protects tourism jobs with more than S$1 billion lifeline

By
|
Over S$1 billion in wage support and relief funding will go into sustaining jobs in the aviation and tourism-related sectors.
Over S$1 billion in wage support and relief funding will go into sustaining jobs in the aviation and tourism-related sectors. Photo Credit: Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Aviation and tourism jobs in Singapore will receive a lifeline of more than S$1 billion as part of the government’s S$48 billion second assistance package announced in Parliament on Thursday (March 26).

Through the Government support for the aviation sector and, if necessary, more direct support measures, we will make sure that SIA is able to come through this in good shape,– Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat

The funds will provide much-needed relief to sustain businesses, especially in tourism, which have been hard-hit by Covid-19.

The virus epidemic had sent the “single biggest shock” that airhubs and airlines around the world had ever experienced, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

About three-quarters of the S$1-billion allocation for the travel industry – totalling over S$750 million  (US$521.4m) – will go towards the aviation sector, offered through two schemes to support jobs as well as relief funding.

It will be enhancing job support to help businesses in the aviation sector retain local workers with a 75% wage offset, subject to a monthly wage cap of S$4,600. The move is estimated to cost the government more than S$400 million.

Separately, a S$350 million enhanced aviation support package would be introduced to fund measures such as rebates on landing and parking charges, and rental relief for airlines, ground handlers and cargo agents.

Singapore’s Changi air hub crucially contributes more than 5% of Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 192,000 people.

"Through the Government support for the aviation sector and, if necessary, more direct support measures, we will make sure that SIA is able to come through this in good shape," Mr Heng said.

"Ultimately this is about preserving the status of our air hub so that it can emerge stronger from this crisis."

Tourism jobs across hotels, attractions, travel agents, cruise terminals and operators and MICE venue operators will also receive similar support through a 75% wage offset that is capped at a monthly wage of S$4,600.

He added that an additional S$90 million would be set aside to help the tourism industry rebound strongly, “when the time is right”.

Varying levels of job support will also be extended to food and beverage firms, taxi and private-hire car drivers and private bus operators.

The relief measures will be funded with up to S$17-billion-dollar to be drawn from Singapore’s reserves, which have been approved by Singapore president Halimah Yacob.

This marks only the second time the reserves have been used. Singapore dipped into its reserves for the first time during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis, drawing out S$4.9 billion to protect the country’s economy.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI