Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how many micro and small enterprises, including sole proprietors, have successfully taken up the SME working capital loan since the implementation of the Support and Stabilisation Package; and (b) how else can the Government help to enhance their cash flow.
Oral Answer by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat
1. The enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (WCL) Programme was announced at Budget 2020 and commenced on 2 March 2020. As of 31 March, 662 enterprises have taken up loans with Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs). Of these, 575 enterprises, or almost 90%, are micro and small enterprises.
2. As part of the S$48 billion Resilience Budget announced by DPM, we will provide further support for enterprises to meet their working capital needs.
3. Enterprises from all sectors are now eligible for the Temporary Bridging Loan (TBL), where PFIs’ lending rates are capped at 5% per annum. The maximum loan quantum supported under TBL and Enhanced WCL has been raised to S$5 million and S$1 million respectively. Borrowers under the TBL and Enhanced WCL can also request to pay only interest on their loans for the first year. Approval will be subject to PFIs’ assessment. And the purpose is to help enterprises to reduce their monthly cash outflow.
4. There are other measures in the Unity Budget and Resilience Budget, and also what DPM is going to talk about later today, to help enterprises manage their cash flow. These include corporate income tax rebate and payment deferment, rental waiver for government properties which will benefit micro and small enterprises such as hawker stalls and HDB heartland shops, and the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme where Government will pay part of the salaries for local employees to help enterprises with their cashflow and to save jobs.
5. The Government has also introduced additional measures to help our businesses. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), together with banks, finance companies and insurers, announced a package of measures to help enterprises with their cash flow. The new Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill being tabled will also provide much needed relief for SMEs which have been impacted by the crisis.