Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how have businesses in the Central Business District been affected since the circuit breaker period; and (b) whether there will be a special assistance package to help these affected businesses.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing
1. Since the end of the Circuit Breaker on 1 June 2020, Singapore has gradually resumed activities across sectors. Most businesses in the CBD have also been gradually allowed to reopen. However, as many employees continue to work from home, footfall in the CBD has yet to return to normal levels and sales for F&B and retail establishments in the CBD have remained sluggish.
2. On 23 September 2020, the Government announced a revised set of workplace safe management measures, whereby amongst other measures, employees who are able to work-from-home may return to the workplace, subject to various rules , to better support work and business operations. While working from home will remain as the default mode of working, more employees are likely to head back to their workplace and business within the CBD will likely improve.
3. The Government is aware of the difficult situation businesses are in. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, had unveiled four budgets totalling close to $100 billion to support people and businesses in this crisis. These include the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and various loan schemes to ease the cash flow for businesses.
4. We are also providing support for businesses to transform themselves and build new revenue streams. These include schemes such as the : (a) Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) with a support level of up to 90% for businesses to grow and transform; (b) Productivity Solutions Grant with a support level of up to 80% for businesses to adopt proven pre-scoped solutions (e.g. IT solutions) and (c) e-Commerce Booster Package which supports 90% of the costs for retailers to on-board e-commerce platforms.
5. We encourage enterprises in the CBD and elsewhere to leverage these schemes to strengthen their businesses.