Over 160 businesses have applied for the the government’s staff salary subsidy, while another 80 businesses have applied to defer payments for staff Employees Trust Fund (TAP) and Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP) since outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 on August 7.

Second Minister of Finance and Economy YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah shared the latest figures at the COVID-19 press conference on September 25, with the government expecting more businesses to apply for relief as coronavirus cases continue to rise more than six weeks after the initial outbreak.

“We expect this year it will be more (assistance rendered) because unlike last year not all sectors are affected. This year it’s more widespread. We are looking into them and of course the idea is to try to help them as much as we can,” he said.

The 25% staff salary subsidy applies for local employees with monthly salaries less than $1,500. The deferment of TAP and SCP contributions of 5% and 3.5% respectively also apply to staff with salaries below $1,500. Both deferment and subsidy are offered to micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs) – enterprises with less than 100 employees.

The deferments and subsidy are applied by the employers through TAP, who must provide evidence on how their business has been negatively affected by the ongoing outbreak. The minister also advised companies to revert to TAP with complete information based on their demands.

Last month, 41 companies sought for TAP and SCP deferments for over 500 employees, while another 47 companies applied for salary subsidies covering over 300 staff. However 17 companies applying for the subsidy have yet to provide all the required information, while another 23 employees under companies applying for TAP and SCP deferments also have documentation pending.

The subsidy and deferments are part of wider economic relief measures by the government to help businesses and employees in the private sector to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Other measures include loan deferments and utility discounts.

Individuals seeking direct welfare can apply through SKN

Individuals seeking direct financial assistance can apply through country’s National Welfare System (SKN) which centralises aid from national channels including the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew said underprivileged individuals and families who have lost their jobs or have been put on unpaid leave because of the pandemic can apply through SKN online. The system will then asses which form of welfare they can receive.