SINGAPORE — In an announcement carrying wide-reaching implications, service and conservancy charges (S&CC) for 27 markets and hawker centres managed by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) are set to witness a two-stage increase in 2024.
This comes just days after a similar hike in charges was declared for residents of HDB flats, shops, offices, markets, and food stalls operating under People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils, marking a trend of rising costs across Singapore’s public amenities.
The National Environment Agency (NEA), in a detailed statement released on Saturday, revealed that this move is a direct response to the outcomes of an extensive review conducted in partnership with MSE.
The review identified an urgent need to revise the S&CC rates, which have remained stagnant since 2005, as the costs of regular operations and maintenance of these public spaces have escalated significantly over the years.
In the first phase of increases, slated to take effect in January 2024, the monthly fees for each stall in the affected markets and hawker centres will see an upward shift, ranging between $4 to $15.
In particular, cooked food stalls are expected to face a substantial increase, with rates climbing from $140 to $155. Sellers of piece and sundry items will also see a considerable jump, their fees escalating by $8 to reach a new rate of $87.
Stalls vending a variety of market produce, including vegetables, noodles, eggs, and spices, will have to bear an increase of $4. Those selling poultry, seafood, fruits, and a range of dried or preserved goods will see an increase of $6.
Notably, this first hike in S&CC will coincide with a 1 per cent increase in Goods & Services Tax (GST), adding to the financial strain faced by the vendors.
The second phase of hikes, set to roll out in July 2024, will push rates further, with increases oscillating between $6 and $20.
Cooked food stalls will be hit the hardest in this round, with an additional $20 hike. Piece and sundry vendors will see their fees surge to $99.
Depending on their categories, market produce stall rates will undergo a further increase of either $6 or $9.
NEA stressed that the S&CC collected goes directly towards covering the regular operating and maintenance costs of the markets and hawker centres, such as general cleaning, utilities, and maintenance.
“In the face of significantly rising costs associated with cleaning and maintaining the markets and hawker centres over the years, the current S&CC rates, having remained unchanged since 2005, necessitated an overhaul,” NEA stated.
The agency further noted that this adjustment aligns with the recently announced S&CC increase for most Housing Board-owned markets and hawker centres.