Government extends helping hand to construction sector: Desmond Lee

Victor KangAugust 28, 2020

Lee also shared that the government is working to minimise delays in the completion of Build-To-Order (BTO) projects, while household facing financial difficulties amid the pandemic will be given more flexibility in mortgage repayments.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee on Thursday (27 August) said that it is the immediate priority of the government to help the construction sector restart “safely and smoothly, as quickly as possible”, reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the sector, with waves of infections at dormitories housing migrant workers – who account for a large part of the sector’s manpower. Construction projects also faced delays due to the safe distancing measures and the ‘circuit breaker’ period.

In the addendum of the Ministry of National Development (MND) to the address of President Halimah Yacob at the opening of the 14th Parliament, Lee said the government has been working to help renovation and construction firms restart work, while providing such firms “significant financial support” to help them tide over this period.

“To help the construction sector to get on a stronger footing post-COVID-19, we will step up the pace of industry transformation to improve productivity,” said Lee as quoted by CNA.

This could be achieved by adopting advanced building technologies for higher quality, cleaner and less manpower-intensive construction, he said.

The ministry will also push for innovation, research and digitalisation across the industry to help Singapore’s construction and consultancy companies become ‘industry leaders’ locally and overseas.

Lee also shared that the government is working to minimise delays in the completion of Build-To-Order (BTO) projects, while household facing financial difficulties amid the pandemic will be given more flexibility in mortgage repayments.

“We will also monitor the housing market closely and take measures where needed to keep it stable and sustainable,” said Lee.

And while more flats are built within and around the city centre, public housing will continue to be accessible and affordable, particularly for young families looking to acquire their first home.

He noted that MND has kept public housing inclusive via support schemes for lower-income families and seniors.

Seniors, for instance, can tap on enhanced schemes to use the value of their flats to supplement their retirement funds, while those with care needs can tap on new assisted living flats.

Suggested read: November 2020 HDB BTO Launch: Bishan, Toa Payoh, and More

Support is also given to lower-income families to help them purchase their own flats. ‘Highly subsidised’ public rental housing, on the other hand, are available to families who cannot afford to buy their own flats.

Lee added that the ministry is also looking to support singles, single parents and multi-generation families by regularly reviewing housing policies and plans.

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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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