Singapore hawkers welcome convenience CDC e-vouchers would bring

Hawkers and merchants The Straits Times spoke to expressed optimism about the upcoming paperless Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers Scheme.

Mr Anthony Low, who runs Xin Sheng Ngoh Hiong at Boon Lay Place Food Village, called the shift to e-vouchers a very good move.

“With the paper vouchers, a few stallholders forgot to redeem the vouchers and they expired. Or, they may lose the vouchers when things get busy at the stall,” said the 53-year-old, who also chairs the Boon Lay Hawkers’ Association.

Echoing his sentiment was Mr Poh Lian Seng, 70, who runs drink stall Poh Hiap Soon Coffee at Haig Road Market and Food Centre.

He said in Mandarin: “The fishmongers were worried that they’d get the vouchers wet and others were worried about having to do more work scanning QR codes and making sure the vouchers and prices tally.”

Mr Poh was one of more than 10 hawkers at the Haig Road food centre who participated in the trial of the RedeemSG Merchant app that allows merchants to accept the e-vouchers.

“I was initially worried because I’m not that familiar with technology, but I felt the app was quite good during the trial,” he said.

Mr Cornelius Tan, 35, who runs Chai Wee Cuttlefish at Chinatown Complex, said the extensive use of smartphone apps like TraceTogether during the pandemic would ease the shift to e-vouchers.

Mr Tan, who was not part of the trial, expressed concern that those most in need of the e-vouchers would not be able to redeem them.

“Some may be homeless without an address or even a phone number, so how can they enjoy the CDC vouchers?” he asked.

Hawkers welcomed the convenience that e-vouchers would bring. Previously, they had to redeem accumulated paper vouchers for cash at the CDCs by themselves, or through representatives.

Said Mr Tan: “At Chinatown Complex, two vice-presidents in the association are using their own cash to pay the other stalls first for convenience. An IT platform will ease a lot of problems in consolidating vouchers and exchanging them for cash.”

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