NEA to co-fund centralised dishwashing costs at 7 new social enterprise hawker centres

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

From 1 January next year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will help stallholders at the seven new social enterprise hawker centres (SEHCs) cope with operating costs, including those for centralised dishwashing service.

The Productive Hawker Centres grant will mean 50 per cent of the service will be co-funded by the agency for the first year for these new hawker centres, said the NEA in a press release on Friday (16 November). For the second year, 30 per cent of the service will be co-funded by the NEA.

The seven new SEHCs are Ci Yuan in Hougang, Bukit Panjang, Kampung Admiralty, Yishun Park, Jurong West, Pasir Ris Central and Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre.

Currently, the grant is only available to stallholders at existing hawker centres. So far, three existing hawker centres, which enjoys this grant, have adopted centralised dishwashing service and automated tray return systems, according to the NEA.

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said in a Facebook post on Friday, “The hawker trade has been facing the challenges of an ageing workforce and manpower constraints. The centralised dishwashing service has helped to address this, as stallholders need not hire assistants who are hard to find, or pay salaries of up to $1,500/month.”

NEA CEO Tan Meng Dui hoped that the grant will help stallholders to better manage their operating costs in the initial years of their businesses as well as help sustain Singapore’s hawker trade.

“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…Many of the costs faced by the stallholders, like Service and Conservancy charges and table cleaning fees, are ‘pass-through’ charges,” said Tan.

Stallholders can also opt to participate in a sector-wide e-payment solution between December 2018 and August 2020, where transaction cost and rent for terminals would be waived for three years upon sign-up. The solution enables payment through CEPAS transport cards, such as EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay, and other mobile payment applications.

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Strong public views on social enterprise hawker centres will lead to change: Makansutra’s K F Seetoh

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