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    Aug 30, 2016

    17 sites picked to upgrade HDB shops

    THE Government is pumping $29 million to spruce up more Housing Board shops across the island - the latest and largest batch of funding in an ongoing scheme to help businesses stay competitive.

    The funding will help 1,335 shops under the Revitalisation of Shops (ROS) scheme, Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee announced yesterday.

    He was on a visit to Geylang East Neighbourhood Centre - one of the 17 new sites

    that have been selected to undergo a revamp.

    Other sites include Jurong East, Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Tampines

    and Bedok.

    This comes after the ROS scheme was enhanced in May. The changes include increasing the upgrading budget for each shop from $20,000 to $35,000 and reducing the shop owner's share of the cost from 50 per cent to 20 per cent

    and capping it at $5,000.

    New funds were also set up for HDB shops so they can hire consultants to

    help them with upgrading and form merchants' associations.

    So far, businesses in eight sites have applied to set up merchants' associations.

    These include shops at Circuit Road, Keat Hong Shopping Centre and

    Bedok Reservoir Road.

    Stressing the importance of keeping heartland shops alive, Mr Lee said they not only provide convenience and affordability but also create a sense of community and belonging.

    Yong Teck Chai, 52, chairman of the Geylang East Central Merchants' Association, said most of the shopkeepers he has spoken to are in favour.

    He hopes that the revamp will attract not only younger customers but also younger shop owners.

    Owner of magazine and sundry shop K. Mohan Raj, 49, said it is "about time" that businesses at his Aljunied block are spruced up. "Business has been slowing down even on weekends. I've had to start selling other items and price my goods lower," he added.