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COVID-19 Solidarity Budget: 100,000 self-employed persons to get $9,000 in income relief

Two men seen wearing face masks outside the Funan Mall on Monday (27 January). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — More self-employed persons will get cash assistance under broader measures targeted at them unveiled in the Solidarity Budget to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some 100,000 self-employed persons will receive three payments of $3,000 each from May, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat when he announced the $5.1 billion supplementary budget in Parliament on Monday (6 April). This is an increase from the 88,000 self-employed persons that would get such payments, as announced previously by Heng when he unveiled the $48 billion Resilience Budget on 26 March.

The direct cash assistance to self-employed persons is the first time that the government is doing so on such a large scale, said Heng.

The government decided to broaden the support for self-employed persons after appeals from those whose livelihoods were severely affected by the pandemic, Heng said.

As such, Heng added that he would extend Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) to automatically include self-employed persons who earn a small income from employment work.

The minister will also be raising the current Annual Value threshold from up to $13,000 to up to $21,000, to include those who live in some condominiums and other private properties.

While some have asked why self-employed persons with annual Net Trade Income of up to $100,000 are qualified, Heng said that self-employed persons are a very diverse group, including those who own small businesses that employ workers.

“In these extraordinary times, many such self-employed persons are hard-hit. I hope that by our helping them, they too can help others in their networks, and their workers, and we keep the spirit of enterprise alive,” said Heng.

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