TUTONG – The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered supply chain issues in the construction industry but the government is confident that national development projects will be completed on time.

Development minister YB Dato Seri Setia Ir Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar said the COVID-19 crisis disrupted the building material supply chain and caused manpower issues.

To overcome the barriers, he said the government turned to domestic sourcing of raw materials and relied on local engineers.

Brunei had closed its borders and suspended the issuance of work permits for incoming foreign nationals in March. The government started easing travel restrictions this month.

The construction industry is heavily reliant on migrant workers, who made up 78 percent of the total workforce in the sector last year.

Despite the challenges, the minister said three projects under the 11th National Development Plan are on track to meet the scheduled 2021 completion date.

The $12.9 million flyover project in Kg Lugu is on track for 2021 completion. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

One of the projects is a $12.9 million flyover in Kg Lugu, which will allow residents of the nearby government housing scheme to bypass Jalan Tutong Lama and the Muara-Tutong Highway U-turn, which is 6km from Lugu.

Construction of the flyover started in November 19 and is expected to be completed by November 2021.

The minister also inspected the site of a pumping station Kg Lubok Pulau to help mitigate floods in Tutong’s interior.

The floodplain mitigation scheme — which includes a $7.8 million upstream flood mitigation project and a $12.7 million downstream project — aims to reduce flooding in Kampung Ukong, Kampung Panchong and Kampung Rambai. 

According to the Public Works Department, the upstream project is 81 percent complete.

The department said several projects under the 11th National Development Plan are still in the bidding process, such as a flyover to connect Muara-Tutong Highway and Jalan Utama Tanah Jambu.

Other projects include construction of Bukit Barun water treatment plant to supply clean water to Brunei-Muara and Tutong residents, as well as the first phase of Jalan Jerudong drainage repair.