How to help heartland businesses survive Covid-19 crisis: 5 recommendations from Merchants association

A shopper walking in an almost empty Junction 8 shopping mall in Bishan on May 20, 2020.
A shopper walking in an almost empty Junction 8 shopping mall in Bishan on May 20, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore (FMAS) laid out five recommendations yesterday to help heartland businesses survive this crisis:

1. RECALIBRATE THE CIRCUIT BREAKER EASING SCHEDULE

FMAS recommends reducing Phase One to two weeks if community infection numbers remain low, so that businesses can reopen. The Government said Phase One is expected to last for at least four weeks. The association also proposes that food and beverage joints be allowed to have dine-in customers at 50 per cent capacity.

2. GIVE CONSUMPTION VOUCHERS

It suggests the Government give $500 vouchers to be distributed to households to spend at neighbourhood precincts, town centres and hawker centres.

3. SPEED UP BANK LOAN PROCESSING

It calls on banks to speed up loan processing where possible, so businesses can get the funds to tide over this period.

4. WAIVE THE TEMPORARY OCCUPATION LICENCE FEE

FMAS would like all town councils to waive the fees for outdoor display areas, outdoor refreshment areas and overhead signage for April to June, in addition to a 50 per cent rebate for the rest of the year.

5. EXTEND RELIEF MEASURES

 

It also requests an additional extension of support measures such as the property tax and commercial rental rebates, Jobs Support Scheme and foreign workers levy wavier since the reopening of businesses has been delayed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2020, with the headline 'Recommendations'. Print Edition | Subscribe