400,000 households to get $50 vouchers to spend at local businesses

DPM Heng Swee Keat at the launch of the CDC Vouchers Scheme at a Zoom meeting with five mayors and the president of the Federation of Merchants' Associations. PHOTO: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
DPM Heng Swee Keat at the launch of the CDC Vouchers Scheme at a Zoom meeting with five mayors and the president of the Federation of Merchants' Associations. PHOTO: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL

Up to 400,000 lower-income Singaporean households will be able to collect $50 worth of vouchers in the coming months to be spent at local businesses.

The Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers Scheme was launched yesterday to help Singaporean households with daily expenses while supporting local merchants and hawkers.

The households, identified through various government help schemes, can use the vouchers at participating shops and stalls such as hawker stalls and mom-and-pop shops.

About 2,500 merchants and hawkers have signed up so far.

More are expected to come on board as awareness of the scheme increases and the economy reopens, said Ms Low Yen Ling, chairman of the Mayors' Committee and Mayor of South West District.

She added that the five mayors and grassroots advisers have been working with merchant and hawker associations to recruit heartland businesses virtually during the past two months, after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a $20 million grant for CDCs to support families and their needs during the first Budget in February.

Eligible households will receive notification letters in batches between June 15 and end-July. They will have to present the letter and one NRIC per household during the voucher collection.

Each letter will state the starting date of voucher collection at designated community centres for each household. The earliest date is June 25, though the vouchers can be collected any time until Dec 1.

This is to ensure safe distancing and to minimise overcrowding at the collection points.

The vouchers, which come in $2 denominations, must be used by Dec 31.

Staff from the various constituency offices or representatives from the associations will visit the merchants weekly to collect the vouchers and reimburse them with cash, said Ms Low.

HELPING THE VULNERABLE

I am confident that with agencies such as the CDCs working closely with the community and helping the vulnerable groups, we can weather this storm together. Let us continue to stay resilient and united.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT, on how the CDC Vouchers Scheme and other local efforts help Singaporeans.

The scheme was launched yesterday in a closed-door Zoom meeting attended by DPM Heng, the five mayors - Ms Low, Dr Maliki Osman, Dr Teo Ho Pin, Ms Denise Phua and Mr Desmond Choo - and the president of the Federation of Merchants' Associations, Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, who was representing the participating merchants.

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said that the CDC Vouchers Scheme and other local efforts are part of a larger suite of support measures to help Singaporeans.

 
 
 
 

"I am confident that with agencies such as the CDCs working closely with the community and helping the vulnerable groups, we can weather this storm together.

"Let us continue to stay resilient and united," said Mr Heng.

Ms Low said the scheme is an example of the five CDCs working together during challenging times to support lower-income families and boost local heartland businesses.

"As our residents patronise their neighbourhood shops and hawkers, we hope it will also build a fresh sense of solidarity and mutual support among Singaporeans," she added.

"We are all in this crisis together, from residents to shopkeepers, from families to businesses, individuals and organisations.

"But by joining hearts and hands, we can gain... fresh confidence to overcome the odds and emerge even stronger."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2020, with the headline '400,000 households to get $50 vouchers to spend at local businesses'. Subscribe