Saturday, 13 June 2020

CDC Vouchers Scheme: 400,000 lower-income households to each receive $50 worth of vouchers to support local businesses hard hit by COVID-19

$20 million in vouchers to be distributed to 400,000 Singaporean households
Eligible households will receive notification letters in batches between 15 June and end-July 2020
By Goh Yan Han, The Straits Times, 13 Jun 2020

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.

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."

* 400,000 Singapore households to receive 2nd tranche of $50 vouchers to spend at local businesses
They can be used for food or essential goods and services at 8,100 shops and hawker stalls
By Goh Yan Han, The Straits Times, 26 Jan 2021

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 launched last June.

At Bedok Community Centre yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that a second tranche of $20 million would be given out through the scheme.

"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," said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister. "We hope that the vouchers will continue to help families in need."

The vouchers, which come in $2 denominations, can be used to redeem food as well as essential goods and services at more than 8,100 participating heartland merchant shops and hawker stalls.

The first tranche was announced last June and that batch of vouchers had to be used by Dec 31 last year. 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.

Each eligible household, identified through government help schemes, will receive a notification letter indicating a date of collection. The letter and NRIC must be taken to the collection point.

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 island-wide 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.

Ms Low, who is South West District Mayor and chairman of the Mayors' 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."


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