Parliament: Social enterprise hawker centres costs comparable to other hawker centres'

One of the seven new social enterprise hawker centres is at Our Tampines Hub. Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said yesterday in Parliament that the $750 to $3,700 monthly rents at such hawker centres are comp
One of the seven new social enterprise hawker centres is at Our Tampines Hub. Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said yesterday in Parliament that the $750 to $3,700 monthly rents at such hawker centres are comparable to the $1,700 median rent at similar government-run hawker centres.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Hawkers at the seven new social enterprise hawker centres (SEHCs) pay rents that range from $750 to $3,700 a month.

This works out to a median - the mid-point between a range - rent of $2,000 a month, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said in Parliament yesterday.

This is comparable to the $1,700 median rent at similar hawker centres, after taking into account the bigger and better-designed stalls, and amenities at SEHCs, she added.

She also said rents of non-subsidised hawker stalls at similar government-run centres range from $640 to $3,900 a month.

Her reply to Mr Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) follows public criticism last October of SEHCs' onerous hawker contracts.

Elaborating on other expenses, Dr Khor said ancillary costs, such as service and conservancy charges (S&CC) and table-cleaning fees, are similar at all hawker centres.

S&CC charges at the new centres are between $110 and $350 a month, which is within the monthly range of $130 to $450 at government-run centres.

 
 
 
 

With table-cleaning, the fees at the new centres are between $300 and $550 a month, which is within the monthly range of $200 to $830 at government-run centres.

"As for other operating expenses incurred directly by stallholders such as utilities, manpower and raw materials, these would vary from stall to stall, depending on factors such as the nature of business and market conditions," she added.

Mr Faisal had asked for rent details of government-run hawker centres and SEHCs, and their operating expenses. SEHCs are jointly run by Hawker Management by Koufu, Fei Siong Social Enterprise, NTUC Foodfare, Timbre+Hawkers and OTMH by Kopitiam.

Last October, they received flak for contracts which the hawkers said forced them to work long hours and shoulder the burden of expensive dish-washing, tray return and marketing costs.

The National Environment Agency, which oversees hawker centres here, stepped in and required SEHC contracts to be changed to allow for shorter work hours, limit fines and damages imposed on hawkers, and share part of the dish-washing costs with hawkers.

Dr Khor said the Productive Hawker Centre grants have been extended to SEHC hawkers to help them better manage their costs.

From Jan 1 this year, the stallholders will see a halving in the cost of the centralised dish-washing service and next year, by 30 per cent.

The grants will help "overcome the labour constraints the hawkers will increasingly face, and can go a long way in sustaining our hawker trade to serve the needs of Singaporeans", Dr Khor said, adding that hiring a dishwasher could go up to $1,500 a month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2019, with the headline 'SEHC costs comparable to other hawker centres''. Print Edition | Subscribe