SINGAPORE: The consumer price index (CPI) of leafy and fruit vegetables increased by less than 1 per cent in June, said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong in a written parliamentary reply on Monday (Jul 26).
He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa (PAP-Bukit Panjang), who asked if prices of vegetables and fresh produce imported from Malaysia have risen since June and why.
Mr Gan said that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) does not capture the CPI for specific food sources, but he noted that Malaysia is a source for Singapore's supply of vegetables.
The "small increase" in prices was likely due to increased business costs as a result of Malaysia’s recent enhanced movement control orders (EMCO), as well as seasonal weather that reduced crop supply, he added.
To mitigate the impact of such supply fluctuations, Mr Gan said Singapore has been diversifying its import sources of vegetables and produce to keep prices stable.
He added that the Government has also introduced “one-off support measures” to help Singaporeans with their household expenses during periods of economic uncertainty, citing the Budget 2020 Grocery Vouchers Scheme.
Announced at Budget 2020, the grocery vouchers aim to help less well-off Singaporeans with their household expenses "during this period of extraordinary economic uncertainty", said the Ministry of Finance.
Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020 who live in one- and two-room HDB flats, and who do not own more than one property are eligible for the vouchers.
Each eligible recipient received S$150 worth of grocery vouchers in October and a S$150 in December 2020. A further S$100 will be given out in October 2021.
Apart from the grocery vouchers, Mr Gan said the Government assists families in various ways.
"For example, MSF’s Social Service Offices provide ComCare assistance to low-income households to support their daily living expenses such as food, clothing, transportation, and communications," he said.