News: Government to help construction industry get through ‘difficult patch’, Wong

Jun 10, 2020

Despite the various challenges faced by the construction industry, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong says that the government will work closely with the industry during this challenging period. 

In order to stem the tide of Covid-19, the government is placing additional measures for the construction industry, which has been a “key vulnerability” during Covid-19. This is expected to translate into additional costs for the construction industry.

However, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong assured that the government will work closely with the industry to help it get through this challenging period.

“For now, the Government is bearing these costs through the Fortitude Budget,” he was quoted by Channel News Asia during a televised broadcast to the nation on Tuesday (9 June).

“Beyond that, we will introduce other measures to cushion the impact and to move the industry to new productivity levels.”

Channel News Asia noted that Wong’s speech is the second national broadcast by a Cabinet minister on the city-state’s future after Covid-19.

Wong revealed that the construction industry also faces other challenges, such as pushing for automation to minimise its reliance on foreign workers. All construction workers, whether foreign or local, will have to be “regularly and comprehensively” tested for Covid-19.

He also noted the need for the government to “review and improve” migrant workers’ housing.

“The present dormitories are in fact the outcome of improvements made over the past decade. But despite this, and the precautions we took, we still had major outbreaks in the dormitories,” he said.

Last week, the authorities unveiled plans to build new migrant worker dormitories as well as the development of a set of specifications for such dormitories that will take into account disease response and social interaction needs.

Recommended story: Government Announces New and Improved Foreign Worker Dormitories Near Residential Areas

“But we have to be mindful that the risks will always be there because of the large number of workers living together and sharing communal facilities,” said Wong.

“In fact, all communal living spaces, be they dormitories, nursing homes or cruise ships, will always be at risk in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.”

Despite this, Wong remains optimistic that the industry will emerge stronger from all the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have no doubt that this will be a very difficult transition. But I assure everyone in the industry that we will work closely with you to get through this difficult patch and to emerge stronger from this experience,” he said.

 

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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