Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what caused the errors that resulted in the wrongful Jobs Support Scheme payouts of $370 million.
Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry with regard to the erroneous $370 million payout under the Jobs Support Scheme (a) how much has been recovered thus far; (b) whether companies that may have already used the money will be able to pay back in instalments; and (c) what actions will be taken if firms refuse to pay back the amounts.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing)
1. The incorrect Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts resulted from errors in the tagging of business reopening dates for some businesses, which was used for the computation of the JSS payouts. As the processes for the resumption of business activities had to be implemented at short notice, MTI used existing systems and manual processes to grant approvals for businesses to reopen. Unfortunately, in so doing, mistakes were made with the reopening dates and concomitantly the JSS payouts.
2. As at the first week of May 2021, we have recovered $250 million (68%) and secured commitments for the return of another $83 million (22%) from larger affected firms which are in the process of returning this sum. Businesses that face cashflow difficulties may approach us for assistance. Instalment payment arrangements will be available for businesses that need them.