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Nov 2020 Update: Singapore Business Outlook amid COVID-19

Despite the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, three-quarters of Singaporean business owners remain discouraged and optimistic, continuously looking forward to what’s ahead of them. However, the survey also shows that 1 in at least 5 SMEs are now exhausted from dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19. 

These results were shown in the SME Pulse Check Survey conducted by the DBS bank in early October after the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced the Extended Credit Relief Support Measures for SMEs. 

Most Affected Industry Sectors

According to the DBS survey, the three industry sectors that are most acutely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic include: retail; food and beverage (F&B); and building and construction (B&C).

In spite of the situation, 7 in 10 respondents have said they are confident enough to meet their repayment obligations in 2021 without creating a significant impact on their current operations. 

Read the full article here: https://www.finews.asia/finance/33125-dbs-survey-smu-singapore-joyce-tee-banking

Debt Restructuring Measures to Help Singapore SMEs

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) make the most part of Singapore’s economy. By employing over 70% of the country’s workforce, SMEs contribute to over 44% of Singapore’s overall gross domestic product (GDP). 

When asked what other types of support they would like to receive from the government in accordance with the economic fallouts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs in Singapore have listed their three main priorities: more grants, more rental relief and more flexible manpower policies. 

Fortunately, SMEs suffering from financial distress can now access the Sole Proprietors and Partnerships Scheme  (SPP) and Extended Support Scheme – Customised (ESS-C) enabling them to restructure their debts and credit facilities. 

These two debt restructuring schemes are part of a package announced on Oct 5 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore. 

The debt restructuring charity called the Credit Counselling Singapore (CSS) has launched the Sole Proprietors and Partnerships (SPP) Scheme to help sole proprietors and partnerships restructure their business debts owed to their participating banks or financial institutions. The scheme provides lower monthly instalment payment by extending the loan repayment period to up to a maximum of 8 years, with an interest rate capped at 7% per annum.

To be eligible for the SPP Scheme, firms must be operating as sole proprietors or partnerships, must owe unsecured debts to two or more lenders total unsecured debt not exceeding S$1 million. 

SMEs who do not qualify for the SPP Scheme may also apply for the Extended Support Scheme – Customised (ESS-C) to help them as they face cash flow difficulties. Under this scheme, SMEs will be given a holistic restructuring proposal for their existing credit facilities by participating banks and financial companies. This may include loans under Enterprise Singapore’s Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and Enhanced Working Capital Loan Scheme.

Participating banks and financial companies that will provide the ESS-C include: Bank of China, CIMB Bank, Citibank, DBS, HL Bank, Hong Leong Finance, HSBC Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Malayan Banking and Maybank Singapore, OCBC, RHB Bank, Sing Investments & Finance, Singapura Finance, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB.

Read the entire article here: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sme/two-debt-restructuring-schemes-launched-to-help-distressed-smes

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