Government supports digital uptake with Fortitude Budget package

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    04 June 2020

    Key Takeaways

    • Singapore’s government has announced a S$33 billion package to provide jobs and support businesses as the country prepares to reopen in a phased manner
    • In addition to enhancing existing initiatives, there is an increased emphasis on digitalisation for SMEs
    • Businesses in retail and F&B may receive up to S$10,000 in payouts to begin their digital transformation
    • UOB is committed to helping SMEs embark on digital transformation with a range of future-ready digital and payment solutions – UOB BizSmart, PayNow Corporate, and Shopmatic

    5 mins read

     

    The Singapore government has announced a Fortitude Budget of an additional S$33 billion1 to support businesses as the nation starts to emerge from the COVID-19 circuit breaker. With this budget, the total spending to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 has reached S$92.9 billion, or almost 20 per cent of GDP2.

    “This is a landmark package, and a necessary response to an unprecedented crisis,” Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat said in his speech to parliament3 on 26 May 2020.

    As part of the new measures, the government is enhancing cash flow support, credit support and the credit scheme announced in the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity budgets earlier in the year. This includes enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme, the Jobs and Skills Package, the foreign worker levy waiver and rebate, and expanded rental relief for businesses.

     

    Preparing for a recovery through digitalisation

    For economic and business recovery to be successful, it is clear that it must be digital-led.

    "Telecommuting, on-demand food and services, and virtual events are now the norm," the Deputy Prime Minister said. "COVID-19 has done what many CEOs and CTOs found hard to do. Accelerate digitalisation!"4

    Businesses that are not digitally connected have been hit particularly hard during this period. To help them digitalise, the government is allocating more than S$500 million across three initiatives:

    1. A bonus of S$300 per month over five months to encourage stallholders at hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops and industrial canteens to adopt e-payments and go cashless.
    2. A Digital Resilience Bonus payout of up to S$10,000 for SMEs in the F&B and retail businesses that digitalise with PayNow Corporate, e-invoicing, and other advanced solutions in the categories of business solutions, digital presence and data-driven operations5. The government wants to build on the current momentum in this regard – for example, 50,000 more businesses have adopted PayNow Corporate since April this year6.
    3. S$250 million will also be set aside to help businesses digitalise in partnership with digital platform solution providers. One example is the development of offline-to-online business models to increase domestic revenue and potentially capitalise international demand.

     

    UOB support in accelerating digitalisation for SMEs

    UOB remains committed to supporting the government’s digital push, helping SMEs digitalise their operations for business continuity. We offer a suite of digital solutions that helps SMEs to explore new revenue streams, improve business efficiency and reduce the pressure on the limited resources they have.

    Create new online revenue streams

    The COVID-19 situation has demonstrated the importance of online sales for businesses of all kinds. SMEs can adopt Shopmatic, an e-commerce platform that offers easy-to-use web templates to launch their online business faster. SMEs can also control product listings and manage orders across multiple marketplaces (e.g. Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee) using a single dashboard.

    Adopt cashless payments for faster access to cash

    Going cashless with payments is a recurring theme among businesses these days, as SMEs look to mitigate the lack of offline sales and activities. With the movement of people – potential customers – greatly curtailed due to the pandemic, the ability to make cashless payments online or by smartphone has become more important, especially as it enables remote orders.

    Through PayNow Corporate, SMEs can receive payments from individuals or businesses directly to their bank accounts, giving them quicker access to money. Similarly, SMEs can also make payments more conveniently using the service. The adoption of PayNow Corporate has increased rapidly in the wake of COVID-19, and we hope more SMEs can come on board to use the payment service.

    Access real-time business data for better decision making

    Having business processes such as sales, invoices, payroll and accounting automated and moved to a cloud-based platform allows SMEs to stay on top of their cash flow and make faster decisions in this difficult period.

    UOB BizSmart enables businesses to seamlessly manage multiple processes using one platform. Among its benefits, UOB BizSmart allows SMEs to:

    • Send e-invoices to public sector bodies and other customers via the Peppol network securely
    • Collect payment via e-payment modes, such as PayNow QR or NETS PayCollect, without the need for cash or cheques. Funds are credited directly to their UOB Business Banking account and easily reconciled via direct bank feeds
    • Automate and manage payroll and human resources processes easily via a single platform
    • Get an accurate view of their inventory stocks for better forecasting, with real-time updates on inventory for every incoming or outgoing delivery

     

    Get your business future-ready with digitalisation

    As Singapore’s economy enters the next phase of its fight against COVID-19, there is no better time for SMEs to accelerate the adoption of digital tools to boost their growth and become more resilient. SMEs can kick start their digital transformation journey with UOB’s suite of digital solutions and enjoy exclusive solution packages on top of funding support from the government.

     

    Learn more

     

     

     

    Go digital and receive Digital Resilience Bonus payouts of up to S$10,000

    For F&B and Retail businesses

    Find out more
     

     

    References:
    1https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/in-full-dpm-heng-swee-keats-33b-fortitude-budget-speech
    2https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/in-full-dpm-heng-swee-keats-33b-fortitude-budget-speech
    3https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/in-full-dpm-heng-swee-keats-33b-fortitude-budget-speech
    4https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-fortitude-budget-500m-digital-transformation-business-12770406
    5https://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/docs/default-source/budget_2020/download/pdf/fortitude_annexb3.pdf
    6https://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/docs/default-source/budget_2020/download/pdf/fy2020_fortitude_budget_statement.pdf

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