Companies returning or donating JSS payouts may not be altruistic

Year: 2020

In response to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s encouragement for firms to return or donate their Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts — pointing to nearly 600 firms that have already done so, FMG CEO Devadas calls for transparency on the profiles of such companies first. He cites divergences in schemes offered to SMEs that place local businesses under different circumstances from multinational corporations (MNCs) and government-linked companies (GLCs):

“The Minister of Finance has pointed to 600 companies returning or donating JSS subsidies.

But he has not provided a breakdown between MNCs, Large Enterprises and SMEs, as well as Foreign and Local investors.

It is an ‘open secret’ that foreign investors, particularly MNCs, such as Dyson benefit from hidden subsidies such as land grants, tax holidays, priority in manpower allocation and on occasion even help to source lead clients amongst other benefits as inducements to invest in Singapore, which are not available to SMEs even though there are a plethora of highly bureaucratised schemes to support them.

Further, these 600 firms represent just 0.15% of total registered firms in Singapore. For those who accept JSS but donate them, the motive is not wholly altruistic as they benefit from 250% tax credit and positive PR.

For local SMEs which have done well despite the odds, it is inequitable to expect these entrepreneurs to return JSS when it is their hard work and personal investments and drive which have made them successful.

Let us call a spade a spade and not treat MNCs and GLCs with the same lens of expectations or wear rose-tinted moral glasses when judging the motives of those returning or donating JSS.”