The National Environment Agency (NEA) has included the co-funding of centralised dishwashing costs as a part of its extension of the 'Productive Hawker Centres' grant to stallholders at social enterprise hawker centres (SEHCs), which will take effect on 1 Jan next year.
In a press release on Friday (16 Nov), NEA said the grant will soon include stallholders at "the seven new hawker centres" as a means of increasing its "support" in terms of "managing the cost from the adoption of centralised dishwashing service at these centres."
The seven new SEHCs are:
- Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre;
- Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre;
- Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre;
- Ci Yuan Hawker Centre;
- Yishun Park Hawker Centre;
- Jurong West Hawker Centre; and
- Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre.
The agency added that it will subsidise 50% of the dishwashing costs for the first year, and then 30% for the second year. Stallholders are expected to bear the dishwashing costs in full the third year onwards.
Currently, the subsidy is only available to only stallholders at existing hawker centres that are currently utilising the centralised dishwashing service, and at present, only three SEHCs have taken up the centralised dishwashing service out of 114 hawker centres islandwide, as most stallholders prefer to outsource the dishwashing tasks, or to carry it out themselves.
NEA's Productive Hawker Centres grant aims not only to "reduce the overall manpower needed for dishwashing and table-cleaning," but to also "enhance the cleanliness of the hawker centre and rate of table turnover," in addition to helping hawkers "focus on their cooking as they need not worry about hiring assistants to wash their crockeries".
The agency added: "The extension of NEA’s subsidy to stallholders at the new hawker centres is to help them better manage their operating costs during the initial period before the new centres establish themselves and attract a stable pool of clientele."
Chief executive officer of NEA Tan Meng Dui said: “In the past month, besides reviewing the contractual terms between operators and stallholders, NEA also conducted a review of the operating costs faced by stallholders at our new hawker centres.
“We recognise that these centres may need time to establish themselves and build-up a clientele. Many of the costs faced by the stallholders, like Service and Conservancy charges and table cleaning fees, are ‘pass-through’ charges.
“We hope that by extending the ‘Productive Hawker Centres’ grant for centralised dishwashing service to stallholders, this will help them to better manage their operating costs in the initial years as they start-up their businesses, and help to sustain our hawker trade in the long term,” concluded Mr Tan.
Additionally, between Dec this year and August 2020, stallholders will have the option to utilise "a sector-wide e-payment solution, under which the transaction cost and rental of terminals would be waived for a period of three years upon sign up."
The e-payment solution will offer patrons "a breadth of 20 payment schemes, which include widely-used CEPAS transport cards such as EZ-Link, concession cards and NETS FlashPay, as well as mobile payment applications."