Singapore enterprises received US$13.2 billion worth of loans in 2020
This amount benefited more than 20,000 companies hard-hit by COVID-19 between March and December 2020, and was significantly higher than the S$1.3 billion (US$980.3 million) in 2019.
However, Minister for trade and industry Chan Chun Sing said such ESG-supported loans cannot last indefinitely, and businesses must seek to adapt and transform themselves in a post-pandemic environment.
“Obviously, the help schemes will evolve as the economy progressively recovers, so not all the schemes will need to continue in the previous forms. Some of the schemes will progressively wind down as the economy recovers, and we can release the resources to help the other sectors that are more in need.” he said.
The government launched a Temporary Bridging Loan Programme last year as the pandemic badly affected businesses. It also enhanced its Enterprise Financing Scheme for small and medium-sized enterprise working capital loans and trade loans. The ESG took up to 90% of the loan risk under these schemes.
These supportive programmes form the “defensive” approach of the government’s two-pronged strategy to the country’s economic recovery. The other is the “offensive” approach where businesses build new capabilities through digitalisation, scale up and expand to capture new market opportunities, Chan said.
He added that this strategy would not only show trade partners the country’s reputation for efficiency, but also its system’s resilience and reliability, according to The Business Times.
ESG’s mission is to grow stronger Singapore enterprises by building capabilities and accessing global opportunities, thereby creating good jobs for Singaporeans.