About 150,000 sets of grocery vouchers, each worth S$150, were mailed out via tracked registered mail to eligible Singaporeans in October earlier this year.
229 sets of grocery voucher sets were reported as stolen as of October 28, 2020. This amount makes up about 0.2 per cent of the total number of Grocery Voucher sets mailed out by the government. The rest reached their intended recipients smoothly.
The police has made 55 arrests based on the reported theft cases, as of October 28, 2020 as well.
These figures were given out by Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah in Parliament on November 2, 2020.
She was responding to questions by Members of Parliament on the recent thefts of vouchers reported in the media.
Cases not linked, appear to be opportunistic
Indranee added that the cases are not linked and appear to be opportunistic. In some cases, the thefts appeared to occur due to recipients failing to lock their letter boxes.
"The small number of vouchers reported as stolen have been voided, and replacement vouchers are being issued to eligible recipients. We encourage everyone to keep their letter boxes locked and repair any damaged letter boxes, to avoid theft," said Indranee.
On whether mailing the Grocery Voucher is the best delivery mode, Indranee said that it is the best mode based on a balance between Covid-19 constraints, convenience for recipients, and security.
Some of the recipients do not own smartphones and cannot access digital vouchers.
Disbursing the vouchers at community centres might inconvenience those with mobility issues as well as create crowding which is not advisable during a pandemic.
Hence, the government chose tracked registered mail, with contactless delivery (e.g. the voucher sets were delivered to letterboxes).SingPost monitors and verifies that these vouchers were indeed delivered with a photo taken by its postmen.
The vouchers, added Indranee, also come with features that identify the intended recipients and trace said vouchers to specific locations and times of transaction.
Top images via Loida Vincine/Facebook, SingPost