Covid-19: Heng Swee Keat to announce more support measures for households and businesses on April 6

Covid-19: Heng Swee Keat to announce more support measures for households and businesses on April 6
Covid-19: Heng Swee Keat to announce more support measures for households and businesses on April 6

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People wearing protective face masks walk a Singapore’s Changi Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) March 30, 2020. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will be announcing more support measures for households and businesses in Parliament on Monday (April 6). This will be over and above what was provided in the Budget in February and the Resilience Budget last week.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed this in his address to the nation on Friday.

He also announced that starting next Tuesday, most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will be closed.

Mr Lee acknowledged that this will impact workers and businesses severely, noting that it was “already a very difficult time for them”.

He gave the assurance that the Government will “help them come through this”.

In Monday’s parliamentary session, a number of new measures will be put into legislation as well, Mr Lee said, including a requirement for landlords to pass on property tax rebates fully to their tenants.

During the Resilience Budget announced in March, DPM Heng said that landlords of properties such as hotels and malls will receive a property tax rebate of up to 100 per cent for non-residential properties for the tax payable in 2020.

For most of the properties which qualify, the rebate works out to more than one month of rent.

Apart from making passing on the tax rebates mandatory for landlords, the new law when passed will ensure that they do so in a timely manner.

Landlords who fail to fully and unconditionally pass on the rebate will be guilty of an offence, the Ministry of Finance had said earlier.

Mr Lee also said that Parliament is set to pass a new temporary legislation to let businesses and individuals defer certain contractual obligations for a period, such as paying rent, repaying loans, or completing work.

The Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill proposes to temporarily make it an offence for an organisation or individual to take legal action against a party who is not fulfilling his contractual obligations, as long as that party gives notice that his inability to fulfil the contract has been due to the pandemic.

This would cover a slew of contracts involving everything from construction firms facing liquidated damages for incomplete projects to wedding couples unable to hold their events at hotels. — TODAY

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