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1,000 digital ambassadors to be recruited to help stallholders, seniors go online

1,000 digital ambassadors to be recruited to help stallholders, seniors go online

Stallholders wearing face masks wait for customers to order takeaway meals at a hawker centre in Chinatown, Singapore on Apr 21, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Catherine Lai)

SINGAPORE: A new digital office announced on Sunday (May 31) will recruit 1,000 ambassadors by the end of next month to help stallholders and seniors go online, as part of efforts to accelerate digital adoption in Singapore's post COVID-19 economic recovery.

The digital ambassadors will cover all 112 hawker centres and wet markets in June to encourage stallholders to adopt SGQR codes for e-payment and avoid having to handle cash.

This will be expanded to include stallholders in coffee shops and industrial canteens in July.

The SGQR code, compatible with payment schemes such as GrabPay, PayNow and Favepay, was rolled out in 2018 as a way to simplify QR code payments in Singapore.

“Our goal is to engage 18,000 stallholders to help them get onboard the unified e-payment solution by June 2021,” said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Developmemnt Authority (IMDA) in a joint news release.

To encourage more stallholders to use e-payments, a monthly bonus of S$300 will be offered over five months to stallholders. This was first mentioned by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday.

READ: Fortitude Budget: More than S$500m allocated to support digital transformation of businesses amid COVID-19 outbreak

The new SG Digital Office expands on Singapore's push to help every individual and business go digital, said MCI and IMDA in the release. The aim is to equip them with the digital tools and skills to “participate meaningfully in the new social and economic environment post COVID-19”.

“COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the way we lead our lives,” said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran in the statement announcing the formation of the SG Digital Office.

“While some of us have been able to make the necessary adjustments to work, learn or socialise from our homes because we are digitally connected, that is not the case for some of the elderly and vulnerable amongst us. Their lives can be better if they too are as digitally connected," he added.

The digital ambassadors that the new office recruit will comprise both full-time staff and volunteers.

Aside from the stallholders, they will also be tasked with helping to raise the digital skills of 100,000 seniors by March next year, up from the current annual target of 10,000.

“We want to quickly include our seniors in these digital efforts, so that they can join other citizens in communicating and transacting digitally,” MCI and IMDA said.

Financial support will be provided to seniors from lower-income households who are unable to afford devices.

Source: CNA/ga


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