Less firms in Singapore tap into pandemic support

S$8.6 billion in loans was provided to 12,600 companies in 2021, compared to S$18 billion to 21,000 companies in 2020.
By: | February 15, 2022

More businesses in Singapore have sought support from Enterprise Singapore (ESG) for productivity purposes, and fewer firms have received pandemic-related loans, said the statutory board. 

In 2021, ESG facilitated S$8.6 billion (US$6.4 billion) in loans to 12,600 companies mostly under pandemic-related loan programmes, compared to S$18 billion (US$13.36 billion) to 21,000 companies in 2020. 

Small and micro businesses received the most help, comprising some 50% and 41% of loans extended to these businesses respectively, while the top sectors receiving support comprised those from wholesale trade, construction, manufacturing, professional services and retail.

With more sectors recovering last year, fewer companies have needed to seek financial support from ESG as compared to 2020 when the pandemic first hit, said ESG chief executive Png Cheong Boon, according to the Business Times

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“That said, we shouldn’t look at [the numbers] in isolation… If you look at 2021 numbers, they are still 4 times as high as 2019 and 2018, so it’s still a significant increase in the loans that are given out compared to pre-COVID times,” he added.

Some loans also have multi-year tenures, which meant some companies that received financial aid in 2020 did not need to apply again this year, he noted.