Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Finance, at the Launch of The CDC Vouchers Scheme 2022 on Wednesday, 11 May 2022, at Tampines West Community Club11 May 2022
Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President Federation of Merchants Associations
Mr Kwek Theng Swee, Chairman, Heartland Enterprise Centre
Community partners, residents, ladies and gentlemen
1. I am very happy to join all of you today for the launch of our 2022 CDC Vouchers Scheme. Indeed it is so good to see all of you gathered together, to feel the atmosphere and the spirit at this venue. It is not the same when we do it on Zoom even if you have the same number of people. When we are gathered together, the atmosphere is different – you can interact with one another. Later, we will even listen to people perform and sing. I am glad that we are all able to come together today.
2. We introduced the digital CDC Vouchers in 2021. We wanted to do this to help families through the pandemic, and also to support all our heartland shops and hawkers
a. It was the first time that we had introduced a digital voucher scheme.
b. The original idea for a CDC Voucher had started earlier, two years ago. In fact, it was mooted by DPM Heng at that time, and we subsequently discussed with the Mayors to implement it. Then we decided to move from paper vouchers to digital ones. This was not an easy process; we had to work through a lot of details.
c. So I want to thank all our Mayors, CDCs and PA, merchant associations, local merchants and hawkers, and everyone of you here – our community partners for your hard work, effort, and close attention to the implementation details.
d. Because of your hard work, the CDC Voucher scheme has been a resounding success. Thank you everyone once again.
a. So we made a special effort with our Silver Generation Ambassadors and grassroots leaders. We went out to engage our seniors to help them access the vouchers. We also had a back-up plan: if you still did not know how to access them, you could go to the Community Clubs and Centres and physical vouchers would be available.
b. The other concern was our heartland shops, merchants and hawkers. We wanted them to benefit too, and so we made a special effort to reach out to them so that they would come on board and benefit from the vouchers.
c. Overall, based on all the experiences we have had so far, I am very glad that it has been positive, and we have received a lot of encouraging feedback. Up to now, as far as the seniors are concerned, many of them are able to use the vouchers digitally. I spoke to many of my residents, they are using the digital vouchers rather than the physical ones.
d. At home, my mother who is 82 years old took a long time to learn how to use a smart phone and Whatsapp – I had to teach her how use those functions to keep in touch. When I asked her, “How about about using the CDC vouchers?” – I had forgotten to teach her so I asked her if I needed to teach her how to redeem them – she said there was no need as she already knows how to redeem the vouchers because her friends had taught her!
e. Many seniors are already learning how to use the digital CDC Vouchers. Likewise, many businesses, merchants and hawkers I see everywhere in Singapore have also started to use the vouchers and many have said that the user interface is convenient and seamless. Importantly, you get the money faster compared to the physical vouchers, so the merchants also find them useful.
a. Utilisation of the vouchers have also been very positive – meaning they have been claimed, but they have not been used it yet. The actual usage of the vouchers over these five months is close to $85 million, which is about 70% of the total amount of vouchers allocated.
b. And of course, the utilisation continues to increase day by day. I know a lot of people have already claimed their vouchers, but they have not used up the whole $100. Like me, I have only used up $4, and I have still got $96 remaining. Hopefully, more people will start to redeem their vouchers.
a. Over the next 2 years, we will give out another $500 more in CDC Vouchers to every Singaporean household – $100 this year; $200 in 2023; and another $200 in 2024. All together $500 more.
b. For this year’s voucher, our original plan was to implement only later in the second half of the year, after the earlier tranche of digital vouchers had been fully utilised.
c. But I recognise that many Singaporeans are concerned about their daily expenses and the impact of rising prices due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
d. So I decided to bring forward the launch of the 2022 CDC Vouchers this year.
a. You can claim the vouchers digitally in the same way as the last round, visit the website (go.gov.sg/cdcv) and login with Singpass to claim them. You can do it in your own time. From today onwards you can start to claim the vouchers.
b. Please use the vouchers, redeem them to support our hawkers and heartland shops in your community. You can check the CDC Vouchers Merchants Go Where website, which lists all the participating shops. You can search for them – find a shop or merchant near your home and use the vouchers.
c. Of course, as per the last round, for those who need help, you can always go to the nearby Community Centres and Clubs and they will help you if you need the physical vouchers.
a. If you are amongst the 7% who have not even claimed the first tranche of the vouchers, please do so, there is no need to wait anymore. There is another round coming, so you might as well claim the first one. Or if you are like me, you have already claimed but not fully utilised the first tranche of the $100 vouchers yet, you should try to spend it as soon as you can and help support our local shops and merchants too.
b. Furthermore, from today onwards, you can start to claim and redeem this second tranche of $100 in CDC Vouchers anytime.
c. Remember there will be further tranches of CDC Vouchers worth $200 each coming up in 2023 and 2024 – for these subsequent tranches we are planning for these to be used not just at participating heartland merchants and hawkers, but also major supermarkets. That is for the subsequent ones, but for the earlier tranche and this tranche, it will be for the heartland shops and hawkers only.
d. We are still working out the timing for the vouchers for the next tranche, but for now, we can expect the next one in 2023 to be implemented early next year. Like I said, if you have not used your vouchers yet, whether the last tranche or you have the upcoming tranche, please make full use of them because there will be another round coming up very soon - $200 more in early 2023.
a. We are providing other forms of assistance too.
b. For example we have given out S&CC as well as U-save rebates. The first round was disbursed last month, and another three rounds will be disbursed every quarter, in July and October this year, and in January next year.
c. For the whole of FY2022, to give an illustration, for those living in 4-room HDB flats, they will receive rebates worth about four months of their utility bills, basically four months is paid for by the Government, and two and a half months of their S&CC. There are additional help being rolled out for Singaporeans on top of the CDC Vouchers.
10. So we do have to brace ourselves for higher prices for some time. But rest assured that the Government will continue to do our utmost to help cushion the impact for Singaporeans, especially for our lower- and middle-income families. In particular, we will continue to monitor the global situation, and will not hesitate to take further action to help households and businesses if the situation worsens. We are rolling out all that we have announced and we will continue to monitor the situation.
11. I know this is a difficult time for everyone. The pandemic is still not over; yes, we have relaxed our measures, but Covid-19 is still not over and already we are facing yet another crisis – because of the global economic slowdown and higher inflation. But we have nothing to fear. The last 2 years have shown that we will always prevail and we will always overcome, no matter what challenges we face, so long as we continue to keep faith with each other, and stand side by side in solidarity with each another
12. That is the same spirit of partnership that I see today amongst everyone gathered here at this venue – our Mayors, CDCs, the Merchant Associations, heartland enterprises and hawkers, PA and all the different Government Agencies and so many other stakeholders. Thank you all for making the CDC Vouchers a success and for working so hard to bring forward this year’s CDC Vouchers Scheme to benefit Singaporean households and businesses.
13. Let’s continue to stay united and resilient as we grapple and tackle the challenges ahead of us, and keep moving forward as a nation.
14. Thank you, now let me say a few words in Mandarin.