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After an unprecedented year in which Singapore experienced its worst recession since independence and with the global battle against COVID-19 far from over, Budget Speech 2021 was delivered by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat on 16 February 2021. With the theme "Emerging Stronger Together", DPM Heng laid out the following plans to tackle Singapore's immediate challenges:
- The COVID-19 Resilience Package to reopen Singapore safely and sustain the momentum of its recovery;
- The Household Support Package for families, with greater support for families in need;
- Singapore's investments in economic and workforce transformation to emerge stronger; and
- The Singapore Green Plan 2030 to enhance sustainability and deal with climate change.
There were also tax measures and changes announced which were categorised in the following manner:
- Extending Budget 2020 Temporary Tax Measures to Support Businesses;
- Updating Singapore's Tax Regime as the Digital Economy Grows;
- Maintaining the Competitiveness and Resilience of Singapore's Tax System;
- Emerging Stronger as a Community: Encouraging Philanthropy and Volunteerism;
- Encouraging Early Adoption of Electric Vehicles; and • Environmental Sustainability.
In this Update, we discuss selected tax measures, changes, enhancements, extensions, and refinements.Singapore | Support Measures | 17 February 2021
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore government has introduced the Simplified Insolvency Programme ("SIP"), which seeks to support micro and small companies to restructure their debts or to wind up. The SIP has come into effect on 29 January 2021.
The SIP provides simpler, faster, and lower-cost restructuring and insolvency proceedings for eligible companies. It will be available for application for a period of 6 months from 29 January 2021 to 28 July 2021. In this Update, we highlight some of the key features of the SIP – in particular, we look at the eligibility criteria for the SIP as well as the application process.
As the COVID-19 pandemic re-emerged in Thailand in December 2020, the Thai government has announced the extension of the Emergency Decree which applies to all areas of Thailand until 28 February 2021. As the restrictions inevitably cause impact on businesses and individuals, the government has also introduced several relief measures intended to relieve the impact of COVID-19, including labour related measures, financial aid to SMEs, and tax relief measures. This Update highlights some of these key relief measures.Thailand | Support Measures | 20 January 2021
PHILIPPINES: SEC Waives Fines and Other Monetary Penalties for Non-filing and Late Filing of Reportorial Requirements
Republic Act No. 11491, or the Bayanihan Act 2, enumerates response and recovery interventions to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. One of the interventions include a directive to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and other agencies to provide regulatory relief to affected business activities and transactions.
Pursuant to the directive, SEC issued Memorandum Circular No. 31, Series of 2020 which waives the imposition of fines and other monetary penalties for violations incurred from 14 September 2020 to 19 December 19 2020. These violations refer to non-filing or late filing of General Information Sheets, Audited Financial Statements, and other reportorial requirements that SEC may require, and non-compliance with compulsory notification.Philippines | Support Measures | 27 November 2020
On 5 October 2020, the Legislation Body of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (“DPR”) and the Indonesian government agreed to pass the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation, commonly known as the Omnibus Law. The bill is a breakthrough effort by the government to comprehensively amend 76 sectoral laws and amend or revoke hundreds of regulations to create job opportunities and improve Indonesia’s investment ecosystem.
The bill will be delivered to the President within seven days after the date of the plenary meeting at DPR on 5 October 2020. The President is expected to sign the bill into law, failing which, it will automatically become law within 30 days after the draft bill is jointly agreed by the President and DPR.
The Omnibus Law is by far the most ambitious and complicated piece of legislation in Indonesia, covering many sensitive areas, such as employment, that previous governments have refused to touch. It consists of 15 chapters and 186 articles, spanning over 900 pages. It mainly covers the following:
- investment growth and licensing leniency;
- protection and enforcement of small-medium scale enterprises and cooperative;
- research and innovation;
- ease of doing business;
- land procurement;
- economic area;
- central government investment and national strategic projects;
- government administration; and
On 11 September 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11494, entitled “An Act Providing for COVID-19 Response and Recovery Interventions and Providing Mechanisms to Accelerate the Recovery and Bolster the Resiliency of the Philippine Economy, Providing Funds Therefor, and for other Purposes” (“Bayanihan Act 2”). The Bayanihan Act 2 took effect on 15 September 2020 and will be enforced until 19 December 2020. The law aims to further mitigate the economic losses and enhance the financial stability of the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.Philippines | Support Measures | 05 October 2020
MALAYSIA: Amendment to Insolvency Act 1967 to Mitigate Financial Ramifications of COVID-19 and Provide Individuals with Additional Protection From Bankruptcy
On 25 August 2020, the Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2020 (“Insolvency Bill”) was passed with a simple voice majority in the Dewan Rakyat. It appears that the Insolvency Bill is intended to mitigate the financial ramifications of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and to provide individuals with additional protection from the threat of bankruptcy.
This Update provides in a nutshell the key changes introduced by the Insolvency Bill.Malaysia | Support Measures | 01 September 2020
Life seems unlikely to return to normal anytime soon as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to swirl around the globe, particularly for some key sectors such as aviation and tourism. As certain support lifelines provided for in the past four Budgets draw close to their expiry dates without significant alleviation of the need for them, there have been stirrings of unease among businesses and workers.
On 17 August 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, released a Ministerial Statement setting out further financial support measures to help workers and businesses stay afloat in the short term and adapt by seizing growth opportunities in a COVID-19 world.
This Update will focus on the measures targeting businesses and workers, which can be broadly categorised into the following:
- Extension of the existing Jobs Support Scheme ("JSS");
- New Jobs Growth Incentives scheme to encourage hiring of locals;
- Supporting workers; and
- Sector-specific relief for aviation, tourism, and startups.
MALAYSIA: Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020
On 12 August 2020, the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020 ("COVID-19 Bill"), which aims to provide temporary relief to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the Movement Control Order (“MCO”), was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat. The COVID-19 Bill has also been tabled for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat on 18 August 2020.
In a nutshell, Part II of the COVID-19 Bill provides temporary relief measures in relation to any inability to perform certain contractual obligations, while Parts III to XVII of the COVID-19 Bill provide for modifications and amendments to certain Acts and Ordinances which are transient in nature.
In this Update, we examine and summarise some of the key temporary reliefs proposed under the COVID-19 Bill and the effective period for such reliefs.Malaysia | Support Measures | 21 August 2020
CAMBODIA: RGC’s Guideline on Additional Measures to Manage the COVID-19 Economic Impact on the Main Sectors and Economic Acceleration and Rehabilitation Post COVID-19
The Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) has issued consecutive press releases and regulations on preventive measures to mitigate the COVID-19 impact on the main sectors such as garment and textile, tourism, and aviation. The impact has been decreased but not vanished. The main sectors are still affected by COVID-19. Therefore, the RGC has issued a press release on the fifth round of preventive measures on 31 July 2020 in order to (1) rehabilitate and promote business operations and (2) mitigate burden on poor families and vulnerable groups by providing financial support.Cambodia | Support Measures | 18 August 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Adopts Fast-track Measures and Removes the Requirement of Submission of Photocopies of Documents Evidencing Credit Extensions and Credit Restructurings
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) has issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 071-2020 to circularise the advisory for the adoption of fast-track measures during the COVID-19 state of calamity issued by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (“ARTA”) through ARTA Advisory No. 01, Series of 2020 (“Advisory”). The Advisory applies to all government offices and agencies including local government units, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and other government instrumentalities, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, that provide services covering business and nonbusiness-related transactions. The suggested measures include extending the validity of permits, licenses, certifications, and other similar authorisations that are expiring within the period of the State of National Emergency.
BIR has also issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 072-2020 to remove the requirement of submission of photocopies of documents evidencing credit extensions and credit restructurings granted by covered institutions during the enhanced community quarantine.Philippines | Support Measures | 25 July 2020
On 23 July 2020, it was announced that the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 ("IRDA"), together with 48 pieces of subsidiary legislation, will come into operation on 30 July 2020.
The IRDA is a significant piece of legislation and its implementation is set to effect major changes in the restructuring and insolvency regime in Singapore. Businesses and insolvency practitioners should be aware of the impending changes and the potential impact on the industry. It should also be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in certain temporary measures which affect the operation of the insolvency framework.
This Update highlights the key elements of the IRDA, as well as the COVID-19 related measures which relate to personal and corporate insolvency.Singapore | Support Measures | 24 July 2020
PHILIPPINES: Securities and Exchange Commission provides options for the submission of Reports, Applications, and Other Documents
Based on a notice issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") dated 24 June 2020, in light of the imposition of community quarantine in the National Capital Region due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous need to comply with social distancing requirements and other public health measures in the receiving, processing and submission of documents, the covered companies (i.e., investment companies, registered issuers of proprietary and non-proprietary shares/timeshares, public companies, corporate governance institutional training providers and publicly-listed companies under the supervision of the Corporate Governance and Finance Department are advised to file or submit their reports, applications, requests, compliance, and other documents to the SEC, via courier services or electronic email, or both courier services and electronic email.Philippines | Support Measures | 09 July 2020
PHILIPPINES: Cebu City Under Enhanced Community Quarantine; Makati City Allows Payment of Realty and Business Taxes Online
Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and pursuant to Resolution No. 46-A of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, the local government of Cebu City, through Cebu City Executive Order No. 082 dated 17 June 2020 (“Order”), has imposed an enhanced community quarantine (“ECQ”) over its territory. Pursuant to the Order, a mandatory stay-at-home order is enforced for all residents. Travel and movement outside homes of residents of Cebu City shall be limited only to accessing basic necessities and services. Only one member of the household is allowed to leave the home. The travel and movement restrictions do not apply to several groups of residents including medical practitioners and health workers, emergency personnel, and authorised national and local government officials and employees.
In another development, the local government of Makati City announced on 17 June 2020 that the second-quarter payments for real property taxes and business taxes can be made online through this website: https://makationlinepayments.com/.Philippines | Support Measures | 01 July 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued several circulars and regulations to, among other things, further extend the deadlines for the filing of documents and payment of taxes, as well as suspend the assessment and collection of deficiency taxes due to the various ongoing quarantine restrictions in the Philippines.Philippines | Support Measures | 24 June 2020
PHILIPPINES: DTI Issues Guidelines on Refund Concessions for Events Affected by the State of Public Health Emergency
The Department of Trade and Industry issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-30 to provide economic relief to all persons and businesses who scheduled events that were cancelled or scaled-down in view of the public health emergency and social distancing measures imposed by the governmentPhilippines | Support Measures | 24 June 2020
In accordance with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s press release dated 26 May 2020 on the fourth-round of preventive measures for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on business operations, the Ministry of Tourism issued a notification dated 8 June 2020 providing for, among others, the waiver of the renewal license fee and the public service fee for the license renewal of all types of valid tourism licenses for 2021.
Cambodia | Support Measures | 19 June 2020
CAMBODIA: RGC’s Guideline on Additional Measures to Support Private Sector and Employees Heavily Impacted by COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Economic Rehabilitation
After issuing consecutive press releases, the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) on 26 May 2020 issued a press release on the fourth-round preventive measures in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business operations of the main sectors. The measures include (a) extending the validity of some measures previously issued; and (b) imposing additional measures. These measures will also include social assistance to help poor families.Cambodia | Support Measures | 08 June 2020
With the end of the circuit breaker period on 1 June 2020, the Singapore government has laid out a three-phase approach towards the resumption of normality. Phase One commenced on 2 June 2020 and is expected to last for at least four weeks, although this will be reassessed in mid-June 2020 with a view to shortening it. It is marked by a restart of some economic activities that do not pose a high risk of transmission, such as manufacturing and office work. Telecommuting must still be adopted to the maximum extent. Some major sectors, such as retail and dining-in, will not be permitted to reopen until Phase Two.
As progression to the next phase depends on the COVID-19 situation rather than a fixed timeframe, many businesses remain uncertain as to when they can reopen. On 26 May 2020, the Minister of Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat ("DPM Heng") announced the fourth Budget, christened the Fortitude Budget, to provide further relief in these times of economic uncertainty.
In this Update, we cover key aspects of the Fortitude Budget that relate to employers, tenants, and businesses.Singapore | Support Measures | 05 June 2020
Following the enactment of Government Regulation in lieu of Law No. 1 of 2020, Indonesia's financial services authority, the OJK, has enacted several regulations designed to safeguard the stability of the financial system and deal with the threat of an economic crisis.
In this update, we will discuss OJK Regulation No. 18/POJK/03/2020 on Written Order to Handle Problematic Banks ("POJK 18/2020") and OJK Regulation No. 12/POJK.03/2020 on the Consolidation of Commercial Banks ("POJK 12/2020") in the context of the banking sector. While POJK 18/2020 was issued in the context of the current coronavirus crisis, POJK 12/2020 has been on OJK's radar before the pandemic.Indonesia | Support Measures | 13 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine
The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") previously issued Revenue Regulations No. 007-2020, as amended by Revenue Regulations No. 010-2020, extending the deadline for the submission and/or filing of certain documents and/or returns as well as payment of certain taxes. On 29 April 2020, BIR issued Revenue Regulations No. 011-2020 further extending the deadlines to submit, file and/or pay the necessary documents and/or taxes required under the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, as well as in the existing revenue regulations. The extension of due dates is applicable throughout the Philippines.Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: Extension of Deadlines of Payment Obligations and Submission Requirements, and Implementation of Other Measures to Provide Relief to Electricity Consumers
The Department of Energy ("DOE") extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, such as those due to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the National Power Corporation (NPC), the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO), the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) and the Independent Electricity Market Operator (IEMOP), and also directed public and private corporations in the energy supply chain to extend the payment deadlines of their customers. The DOE also issued guidelines for the remittance and utilization of host community funds for a targeted COVID-19 response and directed the grant of relief to electricity consumers, both individual and corporate.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) also extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, and also the submission of certain documents, and directed other energy sector participants to similarly extend certain payment deadlines. It temporarily suspended the collection of the feed-in tariff allowance (Fit-All) and granted interim relief to the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) that will effectively reduce the transmission tariff borne by electricity consumers.Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
In combatting the spread of COVID-19 in Cambodia, the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) first started to issue travel restrictions on a selective basis, targeting travellers coming from countries or region most hard-hit by COVID-19, which included the European countries, the United States of America and Iran. As the situation continues to worsen, the RGC has sought to impose travel restrictions on all inbound foreign travellers by requiring them to fulfil a set of conditions before they can be allowed to enter the country.
In addition, the RGC has issued various measures aimed at alleviating the burden of local businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.Cambodia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
China is at a different stage in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally speaking, the COVID-19 pandemic in China has been under control, but China is at the stage of preventing the virus from being imported and the potential occurrence of a second wave of infections. Most of the lockdown and movement control measures in China have been lifted, including the lockdown of Hubei Province (except for Wuhan City), which ended on 25 March 2020. The lockdown of Wuhan City (the epicentre of the outbreak) ended on 8 April 2020. Currently, most of the businesses in China have resumed normal production and operations or are in the process of resuming normal production and operations, subject to certain relevant local rules such as the working space and safe social distancing requirements.
The central government of China has released temporary policies, reliefs and guidelines to support businesses affected by the pandemic. The ministries of the central government and the local governments have also issued temporary policies and reliefs in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government.
China | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
The Indonesian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been steadily intensifying in the past weeks. Pursuant to Regulation of the DKI Jakarta Governor No. 33 of 2020 and Decree No. 380 of 2020, Jakarta became the first province in Indonesia to impose massive social restriction. This is evidenced by the closing of schools, offices except for those conducting essential services) and places of worship, passenger’s limitation for public and personal transportation and prohibition of mass gathering. By mid-April, President Joko Widodo declared COVID-19 as a non-natural national disaster, which obliges the governors, regents, and mayors of the various regions in Indonesia to establish policies in line with this declaration. West Java and Tangerang soon followed Jakarta’s lead and declared a massive social restriction in their respective regions.
On the business side, the government has begun setting the stage to allow public institutions to introduce future measures to ensure that business can go on as usual.Indonesia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
On 29 March 2020, the Prime Minister issued the Order on Reinforcement Measures on Containment, Prevention and Full Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic ("Order"). Pursuant to the Order, restrictions were imposed on movement and gatherings, and employees (other than those in essential services) were required to work from home for the period from 30 March 2020 to 19 April 2020. The Order had been extended to 3 May 2020.
Even before the Order was issued, the Bank of Lao PDR ("BOL") had on 26 March 2020 issued the Decision on Policy in Respect of Loans to Provide Relief Measures Due to the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic ("BOL Decision"). The BOL Decision requires commercial banks to allow borrowers more time to repay principal and interest and to support parties adversely affected by the pandemic. Loans re-structured pursuant to the BOL Decision need not be classified as non-performing.Lao PDR | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
On 16 March 2020, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced the implementation of a nationwide Movement Control Order ("MCO") which began on 18 March 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 31 March 2020. This order was made pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 with the objective being to restrict the spread of COVID-19. However, due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases seen in Malaysia during that time, the Government made a decision to extend the initial period of the MCO to 14 April 2020 (Phase 2) and the MCO was subsequently further extended until 28 April 2020 (Phase 3). The Prime Minister recently made an announcement extending the MCO period to 12 May 2020.
As part of the Government’s efforts to mitigate the social and economic impact of COVID-19 and the MCO, on 27 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a RM250 billion stimulus package known as the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN). Through this stimulus package, financial assistance will be channelled to targeted individuals, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industries to provide temporary relief.Malaysia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Myanmar government has introduced a number of measures to manage the spread of COVID-19, and provide relief to businesses, individuals, employers and employees affected by the outbreak.
On 25 March 2020, the President's Office with the advice of the Ministry of Health and Sports, issued Letter No. 70(23)/1 to all Regional and State Governments on Preventive and Precautionary Measures of COVID-19 ("Letter"). The Letter instructed all Regional and State Governments to allow only 50% of the employees in the government offices and departments to work during office hours.
On 20 March 2020, MOL issued Directive 1/2020 stating that Cut- Make-Pack (CMP) Factories and Workshops, Hotel and Tourism companies, and other medium and small business enterprises economically afflicted by COVID-19 ("Afflicted Businesses") which have been temporarily or permanently shut down, or whose number of labourers has been reduced, are permitted to be exempted from Social Security Board ("SSB") contribution payments. MOL also issued Notifications 63 and 64/2020 on that date to allow the Afflicted Businesses to make SSB contribution payments no later than three months from the end of the relevant month, as opposed to the previous 15-day requirement.Myanmar | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
On 16 March 2020, the Philippine President declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six months and imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") throughout Luzon (the biggest island in the Philippines where Metro Manila is located) until 12 April 2020. The ECQ was subsequently extended to 30 April 2020.
In order to optimise the government’s efforts in responding against the health and economic costs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act ("Act"). The Act granted the President certain emergency powers and the authority necessary to carry out urgent measures, including the authority to direct the operation of privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities, and ensure availability of essential goods, among others. The Act also authorised and prioritised the augmentation of the operational budget of government hospitals, calamity funds, and budget of various social amelioration programs.
On 24 April 2020, the Philippine President announced the extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora which is under general community quarantine), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and other high-risk areas in Luzon until 15 May 2020. Moderate-risk and low-risk areas in Luzon will be placed under general community quarantine starting 1 May 2020. The President also placed some areas in Visayas and Mindanao under ECQ.Philippines | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore has introduced a number of control and safe distancing measures progressively to manage the spread of COVID-19, and to provide relief to individuals and businesses affected by the outbreak. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act"), the Minister for Health has issued the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations"), which seeks to minimise the movement of and interaction between individuals with effect from 7 April 2020. As part of Singapore's circuit breaker efforts to pre-empt the increasing trend of local transmission, the Regulations have been progressively updated with enhanced measures. The Regulations are stated to be in force until 4 May 2020 and may be extended if necessary; on 21 April 2020, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the circuit breaker period would be extended until 1 June 2020.
The Singapore Parliament has also introduced legislative provisions in the Act that will afford temporary relief from actions for parties unable to perform their contracts, repay loans or pay rent due to COVID-19 events, and will increase the monetary thresholds and time limits for insolvency and bankruptcy. In addition, the Government has introduced various initiatives to provide financial support for businesses and individuals during this time, including the Unity Budget, the Solidarity Budget, the Resilience Budget together with further support measures for businesses to cover the prolonged circuit breaker.Singapore | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
In order to control the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Thailand, the Thai government announced an Emergency Decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 ("Emergency Decree"). The Emergency Decree empowers the Bangkok Governor and other provincial governors to issue orders for the closure of places posing a risk of disease contagion. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued notifications and set out certain measures in order to prevent and suppress the spread of the disease. The measures include prohibiting entry into risk areas, closure of points of entry into Thailand, prohibiting the assembly of persons, and the closure of places that are risk-prone to the transmission of the disease (including 34 types of venues in the Bangkok area such as department stores, schools, universities, pubs, bars, theatres and sports stadiums).
To support businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and governmental authorities have introduced several measures, which include emergency loans and soft loans for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic, SME relief measures, a reduction in the rate of withholding taxes, tax relief measures, and additional grounds for tax deductions.
On 28 April 2020, the Thai government has announced the extension of the Emergency Decree until 31 May 2020.Thailand | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Government has introduced a number of measures to manage the spread of COVID-19, and provide relief to individuals and businesses affected by the outbreak.
Pursuant to the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg (as extended), nationwide social distancing measures were imposed from 1 April 2020, and had recently ended on 22 April 2020 for high-risk areas (including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City). During such measures, people were advised to stay home and only leave for essential purposes. Regarding relief, the Government has rolled out various initiatives for eligible individuals and businesses. These include tax relief (by way of deferral of tax payment deadlines), suspension of social insurance contributions, and the State Bank of Vietnam asking commercial banks to waive, reduce or defer interest payments on loans to affected businesses.Vietnam | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
In fighting against our common enemy, COVID-19, the Government of Malaysia has implemented a Movement Control Order (“MCO”) commencing on 18 March 2020 and currently extended until 12 May 2020 (“MCO Period”).
It is inevitable that beyond the MCO Period, the global and domestic economies will continue to be severely impacted due to reduced socio-economic activities – with each passing day, many business entities are struggling to survive.
In this Update, we are specifically considering the practical and legal issues pertaining to the interim measures taken by the Government of Malaysia in an attempt to assist financially distressed companies from being wound up by the Court.Malaysia | Support Measures | 29 April 2020
On 21 April 2020, the Singapore Government announced that the original circuit breaker measures ("Measures") lasting from 7 April to 4 May 2020 would be extended to 1 June 2020 (inclusive), totalling eight weeks of such Measures. These Measures include the closure of all non-essential businesses, which has since been further tightened such that only 15% of the usual workforce continues to physically attend at their workplaces.
The Solidarity Budget (covered in our earlier Client Update titled "In Solidarity: Third Budget to Support Businesses through COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures") announced several relief measures to assist employers in retaining their workforce. This has now been extended to cover the full circuit breaker period, and includes the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme ("JSS") and a second Foreign Worker Levy ("FWL") waiver and rebate.
This Update covers the above, as well as a further announcement from the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM") on its requirements of employers which may affect the receipt of the JSS and FWL payouts.Singapore | Support Measures | 29 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Eases Procedures and Provides Reliefs Including those that are Related to Needed Healthcare Equipment in View of the ECQ
The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") has extended deadlines, suspended assessment and collection of deficiency taxes, and exempted the importation of needed healthcare equipment or materials from certain taxes and duties in view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") imposed by the Philippine government in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. The quarantine was announced in the evening of 16 March 2020 and was scheduled to end on 30 April 2020. On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.Philippines | Support Measures | 28 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the business and operation of many enterprises in China. In order to help enterprises (especially SMEs) that are affected by the pandemic relieve their burden and overcome the difficulties during this period, the central government of China has released temporary policies, reliefs and guidelines. The ministries of the central government and the local governments have also issued temporary policies and reliefs in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government.
This Update discusses the key measures implemented by the central government to support enterprises amidst the pandemic.
China | Support Measures | 27 April 2020
SINGAPORE: In Solidarity: Third Budget to Support Businesses through COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures
On 3 April 2020, Singapore announced that she was moving to implement circuit breaker measures to control the spread of COVID-19. As covered in our earlier Client Update, these circuit breaker measures include school closures and shutdowns for all businesses except those providing essential services, and will remain in place from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive).
To alleviate the hardship consequent upon business closures, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, announced the S$5.1 billion Solidarity Budget on 6 April 2020, of which S$4 billion will go towards supporting businesses and workers.
This Update discusses the additional support provided for businesses, which includes measures such as further enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme and rebates for foreign worker levies paid in 2020. It also covers other relief measures employed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") to assist small and medium enterprises ("SMEs") with continued access to bank credit and insurance cover, and to ensure interbank funding markets remain liquid and well-functioning.Singapore | Support Measures | 08 April 2020
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 shockwave places many companies at financial risk. As governmental authorities formulate and roll-out new support measures intended to throw companies a lifeline, the Lex Mundi full-service member firms have come together to provide a snapshot of the policies implemented and announced in 104 jurisdictions.
In this wide-reaching report, the content for each jurisdiction is provided locally, by experts on the ground steeped in the local legal business culture. The guide gives a quick and comparative reference for the policies and measures across the respective jurisdictions.
Our Competition & Antitrust and Trade Practice contributed to the Singapore chapter of this guide, which will be regularly updated to take into account changes and additions to the measures announced thus far. If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact Ms Kala Anandarajah (email@example.com).Singapore | Support Measures | 03 April 2020
Since the announcement of Budget 2020 (also known as the Unity Budget) a bare five weeks ago, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, has unveiled the S$48 billion Resilience Budget on 26 March 2020 to help Singapore weather the "mighty storm" of COVID-19. In a mark of the extraordinary times, this is only the second time that Singapore's reserves have been drawn on in her history.
Apart from the relief measures that directly assist households, the Resilience Budget sets aside funds to implement new schemes and enhance existing ones to support businesses in these crippling times. Key measures are elaborated on below, together with a consolidation of recent non-Budget measures implemented by the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM") to provide relief to employers to cope with manpower issues.
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