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New S$1.36b package rolled out to help construction firms resume work safely

[SINGAPORE] A new S$1.36 billion fund has been set up to help construction companies, among the hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, to safely restart work.

The Construction Support Package, as it is called, will go towards co-funding extra costs construction companies have to incur to comply with more stringent virus-safety measures to prevent a resurgence of cases.

It will also help to relieve half of the costs construction firms have incurred due to the delay of projects during this period, said the Building and Construction Authority in announcing the fund on Saturday.

For instance, foreign worker levy rebates of S$90 per month will be given for each work permit holder between August and December, while the Government will continue to bear the costs of Covid-19 testing for the sector until 31 March next year.

The Construction Support Package is part of the Fortitude Budget, which is one of four Budgets totalling almost S$100 billion in Covid-19 support measures passed in Parliament earlier this year.

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It was the result of discussions between the Building and Construction Authority, the Singapore Contractors Association, the Specialists Trade Alliance of Singapore and other trade associations, as the sector looks to resuming a new normal with more migrant workers being cleared of the virus through systematic testing.

There are 323,000 workers living in dormitories in Singapore.

So far, about 80,000 migrant workers have been cleared of the virus. But only about 17,000 of these workers can start work as they have downloaded the TraceTogether mobile app for contact tracing, among other conditions.

For instance, dormitory operators must also have implemented safe living measures, and arranged with employers such as construction firms to pick up and drop off workers at work sites at staggered timings.

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