Three-month rental waiver for hawkers and market stallholders amid Covid-19 pandemic

The waivers are for stallholders at hawker centres and markets managed by the National Environment Agency. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Stallholders at hawker centres and markets, as well as eligible commercial tenants, will get enhanced rental waivers, in a move to provide them with greater support amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those eligible will receive three months of such waivers, with a minimum waiver of $200 per month, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Thursday (March 26).

The waivers are for stallholders at hawker centres and markets managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said when unveiling the Supplementary Budget.

Earlier, they were supposed to receive one month's rental waiver under Budget 2020 announced in February.

The commercial tenants in other government-owned or managed facilities will be given two months of rental waivers, up from half a month, Mr Heng added.

These facilities are owned or managed by such public agencies as the Housing Board and the National Arts Council.

Eligible tenants will include retailers, food and beverage outlets, providers of commercial accommodation and recreation, entertainment and healthcare services, as well as social service agencies and charities.

Government agencies, such as JTC Corporation, Singapore Land Authority, HDB, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Building and Construction Authority, People's Association and National Parks Board, will provide a half-month rental waiver to eligible tenants of other non-residential premises. Eligible tenants include those who do not pay property tax.

In total, these rental waivers will cost $334 million.

Mr Jon Lee, head of marketing and business development at Chong Pang City Merchant and Hawker's Association, said the extended rental waivers will definitely help stallholders.

The association represents the stallholders at Chong Pang Market and Food Centre, a hawker centre in Yishun under the NEA.

Mr Lee said business at the hawker centre dropped by about 20 per cent in February, and looks set to worsen by about 40 per cent in March.

He said: "A lot of families and office workers who used to patronise the hawker centre no longer come. So the additional rental waivers will be very helpful."

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