In less than five months since the 2021 tranche of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers were launched on Dec 13 last year, more than 1.1 million households or 93 per cent of all Singaporean households have claimed their vouchers.
Over this period, close to $85 million has been spent, representing 70 per cent of the total amount of vouchers allocated.
Of these, 46 per cent were spent on food and beverage at hawker centres, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
Another 42 per cent were spent on other trades and services at Housing Board shops as well as wet and dry markets, while the remaining 12 per cent were used at small minimarts.
South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling, who is also chairman of the Mayors’ Committee, shared this with the media at the launch of the CDC vouchers scheme 2022 in Tampines West Community Club on Wednesday (May 11).
She added that the information would better guide policy decisions for the next two tranches in 2023 and 2024.
Apart from helping to boost heartland businesses, the $200 worth of vouchers to be given out to each family in each of the next two years will help Singaporeans cope with the goods and services tax (GST) increase. The GST rate will increase from 7 per cent to 9 per cent in two stages – one percentage point each time on Jan 1, 2023, and Jan 1, 2024.
Currently, there are more than 16,000 hawkers and heartland merchants on the scheme, though the number is set to go up with new sign-ups.
Some heartland businesses were a little apprehensive about participating in the scheme at first but many have also overcome the fear of technology.
Within the first two weeks of the launch of the 2021 vouchers, the Ang Mo Kio Constituency Merchants Association reported a 15 per cent to 20 per cent rise in customer footfall.
Over in the west, Bukit Gombak Traders’ Association saw a boost of 10 per cent to 20 per cent in revenue and customers.
Mr Shamsher Ali, operations manager at Habibie Seafood in Tampines Street 81, said only two of his 10 staff are trained to use the RedeemSG system for the digital vouchers.
“We were short-handed, so few wanted to learn the system on top of running the operations,” said the 47-year-old.
The coffee shop stall, which joined the scheme three months ago, has seen up to 15 voucher transactions in a good day.
Jin Jin Departmental Store, which is also in Tampines, joined the scheme in February. The store, which sells electrical appliances and does alterations for clothes, managed to adopt the system with relative ease.
Madam Justina Low, 68, the store’s owner, has so far collected about $70 worth of vouchers and hopes her business will improve further with the launch of the latest vouchers.