SINGAPORE: The People's Association hopes to provide more localised help for neighbourhood businesses with the launch of its first Merchants Committee in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said this on the sidelines of a workgroup session with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that operate within the GRC.
Mr Teo, who is also mayor of the North East District, said the Merchants' Committee will focus on micro enterprises by creating greater awareness of the government schemes and programmes available to SMEs.
The Committee will bring in representations from merchants, federations and associations that already exist across the GRC.
Mr Teo said: "The chambers of commerce and the associations, a lot of times you look at the companies, they are a certain size already. But the 'mom and pop' shops, setting up this Merchants' Committee would only give them an additional voice.
“A lot of our shops and merchants within the districts, even in the industrial areas, they are facing challenges and they are also unaware of some of the schemes that we do. A Merchant's Committee helps to provide awareness to the programmes and schemes, as well as to get feedback on the challenges that they have, and this can be provided as feedback all the way up to the government and the ministries."
Grassroots Advisor to the Punggol South division Gan Thiam Poh will spearhead the Committee in the GRC.
He said that based on feedback, neighbourhood shops face keen competition from bigger malls.
Mr Gan added that help could come in the form of learning from other neighbourhoods that have been successful in revitalising their businesses.
He gave the example of the Bishan and Toa Payoh neighbourhoods.
Mr Gan said he is targeting for the Committee to start work next month. - CNA/gn