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As Singapore enters the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, Construction and Process Sectors are identified to be one of the key drivers of Singapore’s economy. These sectors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as their heavy reliance on foreign workers resulted in significant manpower challenges, with the restrictions on cross-border travel. The Government has been working closely with the industry to drive business and workforce transformation. Financial Assistance such as foreign worker levy rebates of $250 per Work Permit holder (WPH) to help these sectors cope with elevated manpower costs due to the tight worker inflow situation. The Government will also be helping firms address their acute worker shortages in the immediate term by ramping up the inflow of new workers and the return of existing workers with the gradual introduction of border reopening. The past 2 years of the pandemic has enforced the realisation that the Construction and Process Sectors have to adopt productivity improvements and become more manpower-lean in order to stay relevant and be resilient against future disruptions in manpower.

The Government will continue to work with these sectors to help them become more productive and manpower lean. Proposals to reduce the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) and removal of the Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) framework has been discussed. To this end, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will make the following policy changes for the Construction and Process sectors, to support this transformation and incentivise firms to hire higher-skilled foreign workers:

  1. Reduce the DRC from 1:7 to 1:5 (e.g. 1 local employee to 5 WPHs or S Pass holders)
  2. Phase out the MYE framework
  3. Revise levy structure for WPHs

Changes will take effect from 1 Jan 2024 and firms will be given time to adjust. It is stated that firms can continue to apply for and use their MYE quotas up to 31 Dec 2023. Project contracts that have already been awarded or had tender calling date on or before 18 Feb 2022 will be allowed to use their MYE quotas up to 31 Dec 2024 or their project completion date, whichever is earlier.

 

The Government has also came up with several initiatives to assist sectors to transform their business and hire locals. The initiatives are as follows:

  1. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), which provides customised support to help firms upgrade their business capabilities, innovate or venture overseas.
  2. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), which provides co-funding (capped at $30,000) to support costs of adopting pre-approved digital solutions for local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
  3. Productivity Innovation Project (PIP), which provides up to 70% co-funding for the costs of adopting technologies such as Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DfMA) and Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) in the Construction sector.
  4. Career Conversion Programmes (CCP), which offer up to 90% funding support for salary and training costs for firms to hire mid-career jobseekers and equip them with the necessary skills to take on jobs.
  5. Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI), which provides salary support for firms looking to hire new local mature workers who have not been employed for at least six months, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders.
  6. iBuildSG Scholarship and Sponsorship Programme, which offers scholarships/sponsorships jointly with firms in the Construction sector to high-calibre students intending to pursue Built Environment courses at Institutes of Higher Learning.

 

For more information refer to this link:

Supporting Industry Transformation in the Construction and Process sectors (bca.gov.sg)

 

With the Government’s continued collaboration with the Construction and Process sectors to achieve their transformation objectives, this will be crucial in building up long-term capabilities to improve productivity and enhance manpower resilience. Our company also seeks to seize the opportunity to transform our workplace to be manpower lean. In order to improve our productivity capacity, we intend to tap on the funding provided to upgrade our capabilities and adopt new technology such as piloted drones to conduct our inspections. At RAK, we believe that the integration of technology and skills advancement of our employees will be essential in providing service at the highest standards and quality. Contact us today to find out what technological capabilities we adopt and the solutions we provide.

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