More government support for construction sector; worker levy waiver extended

By Charlene Chin
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
The Redas Mid-Autumn Festival was held on Sept 20 at Orchard Hotel. Manpower Minister Tan See Leng (third from the left) and Redas president Chia Ngiang Hong (fourth from the right) are on the stage (Credit: Redas)
Join our  Telegram  channel and follow our  Facebook  for the latest update.
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Singapore will be extending the waiver of foreign worker levies for the period of their Stay Home Notice from end-September to end-December this year to help employers bring in construction workers safely and give them more time to adjust and manage such costs, says Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.
The minister acknowledges that the construction sector has been facing “serious manpower challenges” due to border and travel restrictions. “It has been close to two years since Covid19 hit our shores and brought about irreversible changes to our lives — the way we live, work and play,” the minister said at the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) Mid-Autumn Festival on Monday.
“Across the economy, it has also created undeniable impact, with one of the most affected sectors being the Construction and Built Environment sector,” he says.
To that end, the government has rolled out several measures to alleviate the burden to the industry.
Such measures include extending the validity of In-Principle Approvals (IPAs) for all work pass holders who are unable to enter Singapore. IPAs grant workers entry into the city-state before they are issued their actual work permit in Singapore.
Work permit holders who did not meet the renewal criteria were also granted a one-time renewal.
The Ministry of National Development as well as the Building and Construction Authority have also introduced a $1.36 billion Construction Support Package to help share the costs of implementing safe management measures and non-manpower related costs due to delayed schedules for public-sector projects, the minister says.
More to be done
However, the government acknowledges that more has to be done to further improve on the care for migrant workers in Singapore.
So far, it has taken steps such as introducing a new primary healthcare system for migrant workers; setting up onboarding centres to bring in workers in a safe and calibrated manner; and supporting their mental wellbeing through Project Dawn, a dedicated taskforce to build and run a comprehensive mental health support ecosystem for them.
Last week, the government also announced new and improved standards for migrant worker dormitories. These include having a cap of 12 residents in each room and having en suite toilets shared among fewer people. The end-goal is to modularise such spaces, improving ventilation and the ability to detect early positive Covid-19 cases and isolate them.
Uncertainties ahead; digital push
Given the onslaught of the pandemic, many industries have been in turmoil. “The various stakeholders of the real estate and built environment — including developers, contractors, sub-contractors and supply chain vendors — are still experiencing varying degrees of hardship and problems. For some companies, it may not be back to business as usual,” says Chia Ngiang Hong, president of Redas, at the event.
“As a small economy, it is imperative that the Singapore real estate continually build on its competitive advantage to stay ahead as a reliable Asian hub for international businesses and an attractive investment destination to live, work, play and study,” he says.
One way to do that is through sustainability efforts. “As sustainability in real estate becomes more mainstream, stakeholders in the built environment need to take concerted action to push building adaptability and resilience in our urban systems and operations,” the Redas chief says.
“With [the] government’s continued support to promote investments in green R&D and innovation and help the sector adopt new technologies and develop the requisite human capital, there is great potential for the real estate industry to advance green growth opportunities and for the financial sector to play a useful role in catalysing sustainable and green finance in the region or even globally,” he says.
Chia adds: “Collective efforts of multiple parties — developers, financial institutions, government, businesses and end-users — will help to spur Singapore’s economic recovery path.”
Riding on that, Redas intends to continually form strategic partnerships with the public and private sectors to “steer and transform the real estate and built environment industry towards greater productivity and resilience”, he says.
One such example is the Developercentric IDD Dashboard, a pooled platform that extracts key data from various construction stages: design; fabrication; construction; asset management and operations.
The dashboard — a joint effort between Redas and consultancy KPMG — aims to identify gaps and inefficiencies throughout the built process from the data gathered, with an end-goal of streamlining the city-state’s built processes as a whole

Follow Us
Follow our channels to receive property news updates 24/7 round the clock.
EdgeProp Telegram
EdgeProp Facebook
Subscribe to our newsletter

Our Site (previously known as The Edge Property Singapore) is the best property portal for real estate agents, investors, home-seekers and sellers alike in Singapore. On EdgeProp, you will be able to find the latest and hottest property news, property listings, and access tools for your research and analysis.

Whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent apartments, condominiums, executive condos, HDBs, landed houses, commercial properties or industrial properties, we bring you Singapore’s most comprehensive and up-to-date property news and thousands of listings to facilitate your property decisions. Click into any listing to check out the new AI Redesign tool to envision your property based on your preferred style, be it Scandinavian, Minimalist or many others.

View More