Singapore—There are 13 more social enterprise hawker centres (SEHCs) that are in the pipeline for opening by 2027. Changes in operating hawker centers include discounted rental fees for the first two years of operations, in order to ease the burden on stall owners and operators.
The first of the additional SEHCs will be opening by 2020 at the Bukit Canberra sport and community hub in Sembawang, with the others are scattered in different locations throughout the country.
At present, there are seven existing SEHCs managed by the following social enterprises: Hawker Management by Koufu, Fei Siong Social Enterprise, NTUC Foodfare, Timbre+Hawkers and OTMH by Kopitiam.
The hawkers who operate stalls at the planned SEHCs will greatly benefit from the National Environment Agency’s new Staggered Rent Scheme for the first two years of their business.
This translates to a sizable 20 percent discount on rental fees in the first year of operations, followed by a 10 percent discount in the following year. Since the average rent per food stall is around S$2,000 per month at these SEHCs, this will mean savings for hawkers of about S$400 each month for the first year and S$200 each month for the second year.
However, the new stallholders will not be the only ones to benefit from the NEA’s new rental scheme. Hawkers who qualify from exiting stalls at the Yishun Park, Jurong West, and Pasir Ris Central centres, may avail of a 10 percent remission of their rental fees for six months starting from September 1.
“From our experience over the last four years, new hawker centres and stallholders need time to establish themselves to build up their business and a regular base of clientele. We are now going to provide further support measures to the stallholders in our upcoming centres,” said Amy Khor, the Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources.
Earlier this year, in January, subsidies for centralised dishwashing services were also given to the SEHC hawkers. Back then, the NEA announced it would be co-pay 50 percent needed for dishwashing for the first year, and then 30 percent for the second year.
A number of changes to how SEHCs operate have taken place since last year when conditions were reviewed by the NEA due to complaints about high rental fees, long hours, and other concerns.
Dr Khor added “We will be continuing with the SEHC model, and the upcoming centres that will be built will be operated by successful socially-conscious operators.
Whether it is new hawker centres or existing hawker centres, and whatever the management model, hawker centres built by the government will continue to be owned and regulated by the government.”
But she added that the NEA will review tender evaluation criteria for proposals submitted by SEHC operators for hawker centres they would like to manage in the future.
“This will help us to ensure that we safeguard the well-being and interests of hawkers while achieving our social objectives of ensuring that residents get access to affordable food in a hygienic environment so that hawkers can make a decent living, and also so hawker centres can remain vibrant social spaces.” -/TISG
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