Yesterday afternoon saw Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat deliver his annual budget statement. In his speech, he highlighted the importance of banding together to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the world.
In addition to the measures intended to mitigate the impact of COVID19 on homegrown businesses and the dwindling travel industry, the transport sector has seen some changes too.
In his statement, DPM Heng made mention of the S$133 million COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) intended to support P2P drivers such as Taxi Drivers and Private Hire Car Drivers (PHC) who are affected by the pandemic.
The new CDRF scheme replaces the Special Relief Fund, which saw drivers receive $300 pay-outs per month. Under the CDRF, eligible drivers would receive $600 per vehicle per month from January to March 2021, followed by a pay-out of $450 from April to June.
During his speech, DPM Heng highlighted Singapore’s need to reduce emissions and adopt a “Car-Lite” approach in the near future. While the government still encourages the use of public transport, they have also put several measures in place as part of the Budget’s electric vehicle (EV) measures, which includes phasing out internal combustion engine cars for cleaner vehicle alternatives to reduce emissions.
As a part of this initiative, the government has pledged to install 60,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points at various locations scattered around Singapore, up from the previous target of 28,000. These locations include public car parks and car parks on private premises.
On top of that, an additional S$30 million will be set aside over the next 5 years to further fund Singapore’s EV-related initiates.
To further incentivise drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles, the government is narrowing the cost differential between petrol-powered cars to make EVs more affordable. The Additional Registration Fee (ARF) floor for EVs will be lowered from $5,000 to $0 between January 2022 to December 2023.
In addition to the aforementioned efforts to encourage drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles, DPM Heng also announced that petrol duties will be increased with immediate effect. Duties for premium petrol will increase by S$0.15 per litre, while intermediate petrol duties will be increased by S$0.10 per litre.
To ease this transition for Singaporeans who rely on vehicles for their livelihoods, DPM Heng announced road tax rebates for petrol-powered vehicles.
From August 2021 onwards, Private cars will receive 15% road tax rebates for a year, while taxis and private hire cars will receive the 15% road tax rebate and an additional petrol duty rebate of $360, to be disbursed over four months.
Commercial and goods vehicles (vans and lorries, the lot) will receive a full 100% tax rebate for one year. All rebates will take effect from 1st August 2021 onwards and run for a year until 31st July 2022, and drivers need not apply for the rebates as they will be given out automatically to eligible vehicles by the Land Transport Authority. Details on additional rebates for motorcycles and taxi/PHCs will be released by the LTA in April.