SINGAPORE: For Ms Nicole Sia, who owns a small clothing store in Ang Mo Kio, it was a relief to see more sales trickle in after Community Development Council CDC vouchers were launched last December.
Each Singaporean household received $100 in vouchers that can help with their daily expenses while giving heartland hawkers and merchants a boost.
The owner of Peach Fashion said the vouchers help people spend more, and some even spent the full S $100 at her store during the Chinese New Year period.
Ms Sia hopes that a new round of vouchers launched on Wednesday will happen again with a 10 per cent increase in sales.
She is concerned that small businesses like hers will get a smaller slice of the pie when shoppers can use future tranches of CDC vouchers at major supermarkets in 2023 and 2024.
The vouchers should be used to support small businesses instead of big chains because they don't need help, said Ms Sia.
The help should go more to us now that it's hard times. The owner of Vision Image, Jackson Tan, felt the same way.
He said business has been tough the past two years but sales have grown 10 per cent in the last five months thanks to the CDC vouchers.
He said that he does not think the move will be good for us when people go to the supermarket, at one time they can use up everything because there are a lot of things to buy.
Ang Mo Kio - Major supermarkets already have good business, said Nelson Goh, who runs Ryffles Optical in Ang Mo Kio. If you include them, you can see that the pie is getting smaller and smaller. There are currently more than 16,000 hawkers and merchants that accept CDC vouchers.
In the Chinatown Complex, hawker Felicia Lee agreed that the move to include supermarkets could draw customers away from smaller businesses, although she understood the rationale behind the change.
Ms Lee, who owns congee stall Da Jia Shi said: I get CDC vouchers and was thinking how come NTUC, Sheng Siong, don't have. I am also a consumer. I would spend it at the supermarket Everyone will go there. On Wednesday, the move came in response to feedback from residents, said Ms Low Yen Ling, chairperson of the Mayors Committee and Mayor of the South West District.
She told the media that supporting small businesses remains a priority as authorities prepare to launch the next set of vouchers worth S $200, next year.
One possible solution could be to limit how much can be spent at supermarkets, said Ms Low, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.