Singapore is becoming more and more digitally connected; even more so with the hazards of COVID-19 accelerating digital transformation. In an effort to ensure no one gets left behind, the government intends to set up a new digitalisation office to double down on outreach efforts to the hardest-to-reach segments of society and encourage them to adopt digital tools.

This new SG Digital Office (SDO)will recruit 1,000 digital ambassadors by the end of June 2020 to help stallholders and seniors learn how to use digital tools. Digital skills such as these are more important than ever, given disruptions and havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These ambassadors will cover all 112 hawker centres and wet markets this month to encourage stallholders to adopt SGQR codes for e-payment and avoid having to handle cash, the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Ministry of Communications and Information said in a joint statement recently.

THE SGQR code allows for stallholders to receive payments through 19 different providers, such as Dash, GrabPay, and local bank offerings such as PayLah. The outreach programme will slowly ramp up over the coming months, eventually opening up to include coffee shops and industrial canteens. The current goal is to get 18,000 stallholders on board SGQR by June 2021.

“Covid-19 has irrevocably changed the way we lead our lives. 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 among us,” said Minister of Communications and Information, S. Iswaran.

“Their lives can be better if they too are as digitally connected. The Government recognises that in the wake of Covid-19, digitalisation is now both an imperative and an opportunity,” he added.

The 1,000 digital ambassadors who will be recruited under the SDO will work with companies, community groups, and the public to educate and encourage all seniors as well as stallholders in hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops, and industrial canteens to go digital.

The hope is that by March next year, they would have reach out to approximately 100,000 seniors, teaching them basic digital skills like how to buy things online and how to use smartphone apps to communicate with their friends and family.


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