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Resident from East Coast GRC writes open letter to Heng Swee Keat, urges him to consider expanding the Job Support Scheme

Expanding JSS to include foodservice operators and distributors would also be helpful, he wrote.

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— In an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat, a resident of East Coast GRC asked if he would consider other measures to help foodservice operators and distributors.

The open letter, written and posted on Facebook on Tuesday (Jul 20) by one Lim Jialiang, came after Singapore once again returned to phase 2 (heightened alert) in light of an increasing number of Covid-19 community cases.

As part of the phase two (heightened alert) measures, dining in will not be allowed, maximum group sizes for social gatherings will be reduced from five to two, the number of distinct visitors per household per day will also be capped at two, from the current five.

In his letter, Mr Lim wrote: “I set up a small craft beer distribution business back in 2020. I specialise in B2B trade, and my retailers are my lifeblood. Packaged canned beer sales only form about 30% of my sales, and I have kept direct trade to consumers at a minimum”.

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He added that when dining-in was restricted mid-May, he had to resort to “borrowing money in June just to ensure that I had enough cash flow and to give my customers a break”.

In light of the current measures, Mr Lim explained that May and June are some of the busiest periods for the Food & Beverage industry in Singapore, and added that he stocked appropriately.

“The closures have meant that I am also racking much higher fees in refrigerated storage as my kegs are left to languish in my cold room. With these renewed restrictions, seems to be the case again”, Mr Lim wrote.

At the end of his letter to DPM Heng, Mr Lim urged the former to consider implementing measures that can help smaller suppliers like himself, who end up paying high amounts of storage fees that “that don’t necessarily fit the definition of rent but function as such”.

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Mr Lim also added that “Expanding JSS to include foodservice operators and distributors would also be helpful”.

According to iras.gov.sg, the JSS provides wage support to employers to help them retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) during this period of economic uncertainty.

JSS payouts are intended to offset local employees’ and help protect their jobs.

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TISG has reached out to Mr Lim for comment and clarification.

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