“Although technically in breach of the laws against itinerant hawking, those peddlers who are needy are referred to the relevant agencies by NEA for appropriate assistance,” said the National Environment Agency (NEA).
The agency was asked for its views following a report in the website, The Real Singapore, which highlighted that the authorities impose a S$120 annual licence fees for tissue peddlers.
The article, which apparently was submitted by a member of the public, said that the writer had an encounter with two visually impaired men. One of the men told him that he was selling tissue paper “to supplement his income as he cannot find a regular job.”
The writer then asked if the man’s friend was selling tissue paper too.
The man replied that his friend “could not as he cannot afford to pay the $120 license fee to NEA or some govt agency to allow him to sell tissue.”
In its response, the NEA clarified on its Facebook page that “mobile peddlers selling tissue paper are not licensed. They do not pay any licence fees.”
However, it said that those who wish to sell tissue paper at “fixed locations” and meet the eligibility criteria are required to pay a “nominal fee of S$120 a year.”
At present, the agency said only 11 street hawkers under its Street Hawking Scheme are licensed to sell tissue paper in town council areas.
It added that in all, 362 persons have been issued licences to sell ice-cream, nuts, crackers, canned drinks, costume jewellery, newspapers, phone cards and toiletries.
“Only eleven sell tissue paper,” it said.
Referring to the unlicensed tissue peddlers, the NEA said:
“If they ignore the warning, the NEA [National Environment Agency] will take enforcement action against them, just as it does for other illegal hawkers.”