THE SITUATION OF HOUSEHOLD DEBT REMAINS “HEALTHY”

Responding to Mr Saktiandi’s suggestions to help Singaporeans cope with rising interest rates, Minister of State for Finance Chee Hong Tat acknowledged that higher interest rates “may not be a passing phenomenon” , so it is important to prepare for the change.

The government will continue to ensure that essential areas such as public housing, health care and education remain affordable and accessible to all Singaporeans, he said.

In public housing, the Government will continue to sell new flats below market value with significant housing subsidies, in order to encourage home ownership and allow as many families as possible to own it.

Mr. Chee added that the household debt situation in Singapore remains “healthy”, due to “prudent policies” on unsecured consumer loans as well as residential mortgages.

Recent property cooling measures to increase the medium-term interest rate floor used to calculate the TDSR and mortgage servicing ratio for real estate loans by financial institutions, as well as the interest rate floor interest to calculate eligible loan amounts for HDB loans are examples of such policies, he noted.

Addressing Mr. Saktiandi’s point about helping borrowers better understand their loan commitments, Mr. Chee said that MAS currently requires financial institutions to explain how a borrower’s monthly mortgage payments would change if interest rates rise. .

Similarly, nonfinancial institutions, such as licensed lenders, must use language the borrower understands to explain the terms of the loan agreement and the breakdown of each repayment that goes toward servicing principal and other costs.

“Furthermore, licensed lenders are only allowed to impose fixed borrowing costs and fixed interest rates, ensuring that borrowers are not caught off guard by rising interest rates,” he said.

HELPING BUSINESSES THROUGH SCHEMES

Most companies in Singapore are currently able to manage “debt-related risks” with sufficient liquidity positions along with post-COVID profit recovery, and the government will continue to help them through various credit schemes, said Mr. Chee.

He noted that with the expiration of the Temporary Bridge Loan Program, businesses can still take advantage of the Business Financing Scheme, which supports access to financing for a wide range of business activities.

“It is important to highlight that companies would have to redouble their efforts to improve productivity and improve the skills of their workers. This is the most effective way to improve our overall competitiveness and achieve a win-win outcome for both businesses and workers through economic growth,” he added.

For these purposes, businesses can turn to schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant, Energy Efficiency Grant, SkillsFuture grants, and the recently introduced 70 million S$ NTUC Business Training Committee Grant.

The Government will also continue to provide the Workfare Income Supplement and other support measures to increase the income of lower paid workers.

But while the government will take care of people, homes and businesses, Chee stressed the importance of “a high degree of trust in our society.”

“Trust has enabled us to weather many uncertainties together, including our fight against COVID-19, and will be a critical success factor as we face new challenges in the future, such as rising inflation and higher interest rates. “, said.