No Match Found
Notwithstanding the overall steady recovery expected for the Singapore economy in 2022, certain segments of the society continue to struggle. To support inclusive growth, Budget 2022 announced an array of support packages for the less privileged households and individuals, along with measures to facilitate workforce upskilling and transformation as well as enhancements to existing philanthropic platforms.
Similar to Budget 2021, a $560 million Household Support Package (HSP) was introduced to help low to middle income families with their utility bills, children’s education and daily essentials. The HSP consists of:
More will be done for the lower-wage workers. For eligible Singapore Citizens and Permanent Resident employees under the existing Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS), the Government will:
To support the transition, the Minister announced an initial $2 billion PWCS injection to co-fund wage increases between 2022 to 2026. Qualifying businesses will be automatically enrolled. Co-funding ratios will vary between 50% to 15%, taper down towards 2026 and be applicable for wage increases of up to $3,000 of gross monthly wages. These PWCS refinements will further complement Workfare payout enhancements, which is expected to benefit more than half a million workers.
Rather than rely solely on wage support measures, the Government has placed further emphasis on upskilling and transformation of the workforce as a more sustainable strategy.
For mid-career workers, a new SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme offering subsidised training and support to develop high-quality skill sets and maximise employability will commence from 1 April 2022. This will replace the SGUnited Skills and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways – Company Training programmes which are expiring on 31 March 2022.
Furthermore, the Government expanded the eligibility and coverage of the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit to promote greater initiation of workforce transformation programs. Eligible employers can receive a one-off credit capped at $10,000 to cover up to 90% of workforce transformation initiative costs. The deadline for employers to claim this credit has been extended to 30 June 2024.
Recognising the catalytic effect of fiscal measures in encouraging philanthropy, the Minister also announced the following:
We are delighted to hear the Minister emphasise the importance of and the need for primary care, with the Government pushing for our three healthcare clusters to work more closely with the community partners. While the ‘Healthier SG’ strategy will be a challenging effort, it is worthwhile, as will be the focus on mental health.
The task of ensuring we have enough trusted - key word being “trusted” - primary care doctors, is not a simple one. While locally we have three medical schools churning out about 500 young doctors collectively annually, it may perhaps be worth spending time focusing on how to induce the majority of these doctors into primary care rather than have them compete for other medical and surgical specialties.
It is reassuring to hear that the Government is working towards embedding the lessons learnt during the pandemic when it comes to mental health. This is something that has historically been under-diagnosed but which desperately needs addressing.
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