Apr 07 2020 | by OrionW
The Singapore Government has announced a range of programmes and measures in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This article summarises some of the key announcements as of 7 April 2020.
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (the Act) became law in Singapore on 7 April 2020. The key provisions of the Act include:
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Act will provide temporary protection for SME loans with specific security in Singapore. However, MAS indicated that lenders’ contractual rights are unaffected and warned SMEs that they may still incur late charges and high interest which could cause them to pay more in the future.
Updated Guidance on General Meetings
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), MAS and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) issued updated guidance for issuers on safe distancing measures when conducting general meetings (Guidance). In the Guidance, issuers are allowed to either defer Annual General Meetings to after 30 April 2020 or, if they choose to proceed before the set date, they may be allowed to use “live” webcast and allow proxy voting, among other alternative arrangements.
Support Measures from MAS and the Financial Industry
Prior to the adoption of the Act, MAS, the Association of Banks in Singapore, the Life Insurance Association, the General Insurance Association and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore announced a package of measures to help ease the financial strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and SMEs. The package aims to help individuals meet their loan and insurance commitments, support SMEs with continued access to bank credit and insurance cover, and to ensure interbank funding markets remain liquid and well-functioning.
Suspension of Activities at Workplace Premises
On 3 April 2020, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) issued a guidance on the suspension of activities at workplaces which will take effect from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020. Essential services and their related supply chains and service providers are exempted from the suspension. A list of activities which will be allowed to continue to operate can be found at https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/.
Official Social Media and Online Channels for COVID-19 News
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) uses Gov.sg social media and online channels to announce important COVID-19 updates and messages to the public. In order to disperse the updates and messages as widely as possible, MCI launched a new Gov.sg Telegram channel (go.gov.sg/govsg-telegram) and a refresh of the Gov.sg Twitter channel (go.gov.sg/twitter), in addition to the enhancement done to the Gov.sg WhatsApp overseas service account (go.gov.sg/whatsapp-overseas).
Capability Partnership Programme
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is accelerating partnerships through its Capability Partnership Programme (CPP) in order to roll out content projects or capabilities training initiatives which will strengthen the capabilities and increase the competitiveness of Singapore’s media SMEs during this turbulent period. Some of these projects are slated to begin this April 2020. IMDA will continue to work with its CPP partners – CJ ENM Hong Kong, HOOQ, Tencent-VS Media, Viacom International Media Networks and Facebook – on expediting the programme.
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Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.