SINGAPORE - Up to 400,000 lower-income households will be receiving $50 worth of vouchers that they can use to defray household expenses and, at the same time, support local businesses.
This comes under an extension of the Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers Scheme that was first launched last June.
At Bedok Community Centre on Monday (Jan 25), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that a second tranche of $20 million would be given out through the scheme.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said: "During this challenging period, household expenses will continue to weigh on the minds of less well-off families. So we have decided to commit an additional $20 million for a second tranche of vouchers.
"We hope that the vouchers will continue to help families in need," he added.
The vouchers, which come in $2 denominations, can be used to redeem food, essential goods and services at more than 8,100 participating heartland merchant shops and hawker stalls.
The first tranche was announced in June last year and that batch of vouchers had to be used by Dec 31, 2020. About 338,000 households collected the vouchers.
The second tranche of vouchers can be collected from designated community clubs and centres from Feb 8, and will be valid till Sept 30 this year.
Each eligible household, identified through government help schemes, will receive a notification letter with a date of collection that has to be brought to the collection point with an NRIC.
The launch was attended by the five district Mayors - Ms Low Yen Ling, Ms Denise Phua, Mr Fahmi Aliman, Mr Alex Yam and Mr Desmond Choo - as well as People's Association chief executive director Lim Hock Yu and Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore president Yeo Hiang Meng.
The scheme is funded by the $75 million worth of grants that Mr Heng had announced for the CDCs as part of last year's budgets.
"With a $20 million grant from the Ministry of Finance, the islandwide scheme defrays the cost of living for lower-income families, and supports local heartland shops and hawkers who are facing the impact of the pandemic," said Mr Heng.
He added that during his walkabouts in Bedok, merchants and hawkers had told him that the vouchers scheme had given their businesses a boost amid these uncertain times.
South West District Mayor, Ms Low, who is also chairman of the mayor's committee, said: "Despite being in phase three, there will be no let-up in our efforts, and the CDCs will continue to provide sustained support to the community and Singaporeans in need.
"Together, we can build a stronger and more resilient Singapore."