Coronavirus: Weathering the storm

Enhanced rental waivers for hawkers, market stallholders

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

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 yesterday.

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

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

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 would 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, the 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 NEA.

Mr Lee said business at the hawker centre dropped by about 20 per cent last month, and looks set to worsen to about 40 per cent this month.

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."

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline Enhanced rental waivers for hawkers, market stallholders. Subscribe