SINGAPORE – Every Singaporean household can now claim $300 worth of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers, of which half, or $150, is for use at participating supermarkets.
The five supermarket chains that accept the CDC vouchers are FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Prime, Hao Mart and U Stars, which together have more than 300 outlets across Singapore.
This is the first time since the scheme was introduced that CDC vouchers can be used at supermarkets. Others, like Giant and Cold Storage, may get on board later.
The other $150 worth of vouchers can be used at about 20,300 hawker stalls and heartland merchants’ stores.
As at 6pm on Tuesday, more than 300,000 households had claimed their vouchers, South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling said on Facebook. This is nearly one in four of the 1.24 million eligible households.
The vouchers are part of a comprehensive package to cushion the effects of inflation and the goods and services tax (GST) rate increase, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said at a CDC Vouchers Scheme 2023 launch event at Kampung Admiralty.
Mr Wong said the Government had sought flexibility to let CDC vouchers be spent on groceries at supermarkets. At the same time, heartland businesses and hawkers were concerned about the impact if use of the vouchers was extended to supermarkets.
The Government decided the vouchers would be split into two parts: half to still be set aside for heartland shops and hawkers, and the other half for supermarkets. The vouchers are colour-coded – teal for heartland shops and yellow for supermarkets. The latest tranche of vouchers adds up to $372 million.
“I hope all of you enjoy the added convenience of this set of vouchers,” said Mr Wong. “They will expire on Dec 31, 2023, or the end of this year, so do remember to use your vouchers before then and encourage your family and neighbours to do the same.”
There will be another round of U-Save rebates later in January to help households offset their utility bills, and MediSave top-ups for eligible seniors and children in February.
Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, said his ministry is now working on Budget 2023, which he will deliver on Feb 14.
“It will be my Valentine’s Day present to all of you,” he said.
“We recognise the concerns that many people have about cost-of-living issues, (and are) hence looking at additional measures in the Budget to support Singaporeans over the coming year, especially those in the more vulnerable and lower-income groups,” he said.
The latest tranche of CDC vouchers comprises $200 in vouchers announced in Budget 2022 under the Assurance Package to offset the GST increase, and an additional $100 in vouchers under the $1.5 billion Support Package announced in October 2022.
Singaporean households will receive notification letters in their letter boxes from Tuesday with details on how to claim and spend their $300 in CDC vouchers.
Residents can claim their vouchers in a similar way to previous tranches. One member of each household will need to visit go.gov.sg/cdcv and log in with his Singpass account to claim the vouchers. A CDC voucher link will be sent to the registered mobile phone number of the claimant, who can then share it with other household members.
The CDC voucher scheme will continue to be digital in 2023. SG Digital Office digital ambassadors will be deployed at SG Digital Community Hubs to provide assistance to residents, and more than 50 Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors will also be providing support at selected community clubs.
Ms Low, who was also at the launch, said the total possible spending amount of the vouchers for use at heartland shops and hawkers is $186 million, which is more than the previous tranche of the scheme.
As at Dec 31, 2022, more than $115 million had been spent using the 2021 CDC vouchers, while about $113 million had been spent using the 2022 CDC vouchers, said Ms Low.
“We trust that in 2023, Singaporeans will continue to support our local businesses with their patronage,” she said.
The 20,300 merchants and hawkers now participating in the scheme are also more than double the number of those who participated when the digital CDC voucher scheme was launched in late 2021, she added.
FairPrice said that in support of the CDC Vouchers Scheme 2023, customers who spend a minimum of $55 worth of CDC supermarket vouchers in one transaction at FairPrice outlets from Jan 3 to 15 will receive $6 in FairPrice vouchers.
Mr Vipul Chawla, FairPrice Group chief executive, said: “FairPrice renews our commitment to moderate the cost of living as we welcome the new year by seeking new ways to help the community save more.”
“Apart from participating in the 2023 CDC Vouchers Scheme, we are taking an extra step to also provide additional FairPrice vouchers for customers to purchase their daily essentials.”
A Sheng Siong spokesman told The Straits Times that the release of the CDC vouchers will definitely help businesses. The supermarket chain is also rolling out its own discounts to customers.
Mr Alan Lee, 50, who owns the Geylang Lor 20 Banana Fritters business at Old Airport Road Food Centre, said that three to 10 of his customers used CDC vouchers daily in 2022.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, many of my old customers have disappeared. However, I have also seen many new and young patrons who have started coming here, and they use a variety of payment options, including e-payments and CDC vouchers,” he told ST.
Madam Quek Gek Kiang, an 83-year-old retiree who lives in a four-room Housing Board flat in Hougang, said: “The vouchers are very timely in easing my financial worries as things have become more expensive lately.”
For Ms Emily Yap, a 23-year-old nurse at Alexandra Hospital, the vouchers will go towards a good cause.
She will be using them to buy kueh bangkit from her neighbourhood bakery for Chinese New Year, and the biscuits will go into 50 care packs that she is putting together for needy families and the elderly. The packs include groceries sponsored by donors such as Temasek Foundation.
“I am concerned about the needs of the elderly and needy families, especially in these difficult times of rising inflation and higher costs of living,” Ms Yap said.
Ms Low said that more than $228 million worth of CDC vouchers was claimed in the 2021 and 2022 tranches. Of this, 46 per cent, or $105 million, was spent on food and beverage items; 43 per cent, or $98 million, on other trades and services such as electronics and clothes; and 11 per cent, or $25 million, was spent at heartland minimarts and provision shops.
Cue. (2023, January 3). S'porean households to get $300 in CDC vouchers from Tuesday, half for use at supermarkets. The Straits Times. Retrieved January 4, 2023, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/300-worth-of-cdc-vouchers-for-each-s-porean-household-half-for-use-at-supermarkets