Singapore — Local food guru KF Seetoh, asking why only hawkers in National Environment Agency (NEA) hawker centres are eligible for grants and cash payouts, has received a response from Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu.
Mr Seetoh, the founder of the Makansutra food network and a photojournalist, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Sept 1): “I don’t understand why this great and helpful scheme is only available to the seemingly elite hawkers in NEA run hawker centres.”
He made reference to a S$500 grant given to hawkers who sign up to food delivery platforms, or who engage third-party logistics firms to deliver food.
Only cooked food stallholders operating at hawker centres managed by the NEA or by its appointed operators are eligible for the scheme.
“It’s as if all the other 20,000 plus hawkers in private coffeeshops, food courts, canteens, mom/pop food shops, etc. don’t need assisitance or don’t deserve it (NEA hawker centres house only about 6000 stalls in total),” Mr Seetoh wrote.
Calling for help across the board, he said: “Let’s not be choosy about which Singaporean deserves it or not.”
Ms Fu responded in the comments section of Mr Seetoh’s post. She said: “Why does NEA help our hawkers go digital? Because they are our tenants and we want to give them a hand, especially the elderly hawkers and market stall holders.”
She added: “We encourage other landlords in malls, food courts and eating places, etc, to also extend help to their tenants. There are schemes to help those operating in HDB coffee shops and JTC canteens👇. And many others schemes to support SME in digitalization.”
Ms Fu also shared a link for hawkers to “go digital”. /TISG