Make a guess – What do you think are Singaporeans’ top concerns in 2022?

Budget 2022

The past 2 years have been brutal for many globally. Singaporeans were not spared. 🙁 Now, our economy has proven to be rather resilient but we are not out of the woods yet… This year’s Budget statement addressed a number of top concerns that Singaporeans are worried about. The Budget 2022 delivered by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was aimed at continuing to provide support for sectors that are still facing difficulties amidst the Covid-19 pandemic while also focusing on measures to ensure that Singapore will come out stronger after tiding through the pandemic.

Cost of living 

Being an economy that is dependent on global import and export, Singapore is susceptible to external inflationary pressures. This has also brought about higher costs of living for many Singaporeans. A $560 million Household Support Package was announced to help cushion the impact of rising cost of living.

The assistance households will receive from these schemes come in the form of cash payouts, utility bill rebates, CDC vouchers, MediSave top ups etc. To further mitigate the impact of the GST hike come 2023, there will be an enhanced $6.6 billion Assurance Package complemented by an improved GST Voucher scheme. This will offer financial assistance to households, particularly those from lower-wage households, and would offset at least 5 years of additional GST expenses for most households.

Jobs and economy

Even though the Singapore economy has rebounded from our worst recession in years, there is still a lot of work to be done to support companies and workers. With the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing and potential tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalating, it’s important to address Singaporeans’ top concerns.

The Budget 2022 has set aside a $500 million Jobs and Business Support Package and will help more businesses tide through the pandemic so that they are able to keep their workers employed.

In particular, there are 2 groups of workers that are more vulnerable and require additional support.

Lower wage workers

As Singapore moves towards being more inclusive and equitable, the Budget announcements are meant to give lower wage workers a boost.

The  Progressive Wage Model, championed by the NTUC in partnership with employers and the Government has helped over 80,000 lower wage workers and will see this model extended to cover more sectors and occupations. The Government will co-fund adjustments pay with a Progressive Wage Credit Scheme, to give companies enough time to manage these adjustments.

Companies who employ foreign workers would also be required to pay their local employees a local Qualifying Salary of at least $1,400. As a further boost, the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme will increase the qualifying cap from $2,300 to $2,500 a month to benefit even more workers. This will help more lower-wage workers!

Older workers

In the face of a rapidly ageing population and Singaporean workers choosing to work for more years, the Budget 2022 is making sure to look out for these older workers.

Workers aged 55 to 70 will continue to get an increased employer and employee contribution rate in order to help senior workers boost their retirement adequacy. This would mean that they would see a 3-4% increase in contribution rates over the next 2 years. To help older workers cope build reserves for retirement, the Basic Retirement Sum will increase by 3.5% for people turning 55 between 2023 and 2027, so that they would be better poised to provide for themselves in their later years.

Training and upskilling

 Minister Lawrence Wong stressed that in order to maximise investing in our people, it is necessary to ensure a good match between skills demanded by an industry and those offered by the workforce. This is where the $100 million set aside for the National Trades Union Congress will come into to help scale up the formation of Company Training Committees (CTCs) that will see unions and employers working together to develop relevant training programmes for workers.

For workers looking to do a mid-career switch, the Government will launch a SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme to help train-and-place workers into sectors of their choice. They would also benefit from the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Attachment, an attach and train scheme where workers receive full-time attachment opportunities of between 4-6 months.

Moving forward and addressing Singaporeans’ top concerns

Budget 2022 has addressed many Singaporeans’ top concerns with regards to rising cost of living and the livelihoods of Singaporean workers with its measures. It has also included many initiatives targeted at specific segments of workers that require more assistance. We hope the annual Budget will continue to chart the way forward for Singapore while making sure we leave no worker behind.