SINGAPORE: The 15 hawker centres under the old Stall Ownership Scheme will continue to operate, after a short period of refurbishment and renovations.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan gave this assurance in Parliament on Tuesday.
His assurance comes amid concerns over the expiry of licences of almost 2,000 stalls that were sold under this scheme.
Their 20—year leases will expire in four batches, starting next year.
Dr Balakrishnan said these stall owners would have several options.
He said those stallholders that were subsidised will be placed back on subsidy.
Those which were not subsidised will still be able to continue operating, at market rents.
He said five new hawker centres will be completed by 2016.
Dr Balakrishnan also said the injection of new hawker centres after 26 years and the removal of reserve rents has exerted downward pressure on rents in hawker centres and food outlets.
He said: "This has led to falling tender prices. 55 per cent of the stalls awarded in the past one year were awarded at below their previous reserve rent, and successful tenders as low as S$21 for a cooked food stall at Taman Jurong, and S$5 for a market stall at Changi Village have emerged. Rent is just one component of the hawker’s operating cost. In fact, raw materials and cost of labour are higher component cost of a hawker centre."
Dr Balakrishnan also responded to MP for Marine Parade GRC, Seah Kian Peng, who was seeking an update on the construction of more wet markets.
He said whilst there is confidence in demand for cooked food, the demand pattern for wet markets is less clear. Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry would respond to according to demand.
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