Of the sectors impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, three in particular – aerospace, aviation, and tourism – have been hit the hardest.

Not only that, but the sectors are also “important parts of our economy”, says Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in his live telecast on August 17.

“In particular, Singapore’s position as a global business node depends on our connectivity as an air hub. The Changi Air Hub and its adjacent industries contribute to over 5% of Singapore's GDP and employ more than 190,000 people. Tourism adds vibrancy to our retail and F&B sectors,” he notes.

As such, Heng announced that the Singapore government will provide further support for these sectors, “to retain core capabilities and position them for an eventual recovery”.

For the aviation sector, Heng has allocated an additional $187 million – part of the $8 billion in Covid-19-relief – to extend the support measures in the Enhanced Aviation Support Package up to March 2021.

“This will provide cost relief for our airlines, ground handlers, cargo agents, and airport tenants. This package will also support our local carriers to regain our air connectivity to the world,” he says.

With the temporary re-deployment programme, Heng says that the government will add an additional 4,000 new jobs, which include permanent roles, in the healthcare sector alone. More jobs in “other areas of need”, will also be created.

The new jobs will help redeployed workers from the aviation industry in finding roles in other sectors amid the pandemic.

Driving tourism

Heng has also urged Singaporeans to explore the “local culture and heritage” as foreign visitor arrivals dry up amid the pandemic.

Encouraging local tourism, Heng has set aside $320 million in tourism credits, also known as SingapoRediscovers Vouchers for Singaporeans to use.

“Many Singaporeans love to travel but are unable to do so now. Local consumption will not fully make up for tourist spending, but I hope Singaporeans will take the opportunity to explore our local culture and heritage, nature, art, and architecture. You may be surprised by what you discover,” he says.

On July 22, 2020, Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced the launch of SingapoRediscovers to support the local lifestyle and tourism business.

See: STB, ESG, SDC jointly launch $45 mil SingapoRediscovers campaign to boost local tourism

The agencies have set aside $45 million for the campaign and its supporting marketing initiatives.

Heng added that businesses such as those in the nightlife industry, may not be able to open yet, due to “safe management considerations”.

“For these businesses, the Government will help them transition to other activities or ease their exit,” he says.

Encouraging startups

Lastly, Heng said that he will set aside $150 million, to enhance the Startup SG Founder programme in phases, as the country’s startups are contributing to economic growth, and efforts against Covid-19

The Singapore government will raise the startup capital grant and continue to provide mentorship.

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