A delay in deciding who has powers to assist hauliers, taxi firms and bus operators has been a "source of great frustration" amid a "matter of survival" for many in the sector, the Infrastructure Minister has said.
In an interview with Ulster Business, Nichola Mallon said being handed down the powers has meant a huge delay in those needing financial assistance amid Covid-19.
The First and Deputy First Ministers decided that, because of the other pressures facing the Department for the Economy, Infrastructure should take on the responsibility of providing financial assistance to the haulage, taxi and coach industries.
She said it's a "matter of survival" for many of those in the private bus operator sector. "I have to say, this has been a source of great frustration...We should have been at a place where we were getting people help through the Department for the Economy, much earlier on. What I am keen to do is to get the new powers and to get a scheme up and running as quickly as possible," she explained.
"But I have to be honest with people - I believe it would have been much quicker to amend an existing scheme. Now that it has come to me, given that we don't have the expertise or the experience, we are going to have to devise a scheme from scratch, and that will necessitate time."
Meanwhile, she expects to have a report from her new infrastructure advisory group at the end of September, before presenting it to the Executive in the coming weeks.
"The focus will be on hard infrastructure - roads, waste water, but inevitably they will look at the wider picture. For me, I think it's about looking at infrastructure in a more holistic way, and that means cutting across Minister Poots' department (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs), Minister Dodds' department (Department for the Economy), as well as my own."
That could include an examining of our planning process - something industry here has long said is needlessly lengthy.
There is also the litany of major regionally significant developments, schemes and infrastructural concerns - the majority around well before the impact of Covid.
"We haven't just had the impact of Covid… we didn't have an Assembly or Executive for three years, and undoubtedly that has had an impact as well," she said.
"I'm keen that we have infrastructure at the centre of recovery from Covid. That is what other countries and governments around the world are noticing… if you invest in infrastructure there's a multiplier in terms of the economic benefits, but also around climate action as well."
And industry and the construction sector has been calling for a speeding up and improvement in both the procurement and planning process.
She says: "I think we have made some improvements in planning and it's an issue that needs a clear focus.
"When you examine the planning performance statistics for local councils on smaller applications, they are meeting their targets, but undoubtedly there are difficulties when you look at more significant planning applications - how long it has taken for them to be processed through councils...
"We are getting better engagement with the councils. We are about to go live with the new planning system (online) which will bring improvements."
And she said she's written to the infrastructure committee to inform them she intends to carry out a review of the Planning Act (NI) 2011. "I would be keen to get that under way and get a report out this year."
"We have a number of projects under way such as the A6 (connecting Belfast and Derry). At the beginning, we thought the impact to construction (of Covid-19) would be a lot more.
"The resilience of the construction sector in getting back to work quickly and safely means we are maintaining progress on that."
Earlier this summer, John Ahern of Indaver UK and Ireland - the firm behind a proposed £240m incinerator for Mallusk - said he'd hoped to hear of a decision from the minister on the scheme this year.
Ms Mallon said: "I'm not in a position to say because officials are waiting for additional information. Then that has to be analysed and all due processes followed."
It's a scheme which has rattled on for almost 15 years - turned down by former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, given the green light by civil servants and then refused permission on court appeal. And on Dalradian's plans for a huge gold mine in Co Tyrone, Ms Mallon said her department is not ready to announce a date for the public inquiry.
"But I felt it was important, given the very controversial nature of this application, that I signalled what my intention was (announcing an inquiry) at an early outset."
With conversations already leading back to some construction schemes in Belfast and beyond effectively on hold until the new landscape can be determined, she said the Belfast Transport Hub, active travel agenda, pop-up cycle lanes and a "pragmatic" approach by councils in dealing with applications such as pavement cafe licenses are there to help bring people back into the city.
"Businesses are struggling enough and they don't need to be faced with bureaucratic hurdles," she said.
A recent report highlighted that the next step has been taken in NI Water's Living With Water Programme - a much-needed £1bn modernising of the greater Belfast area's sewage and water systems. NI Water is liaising with potential contractors in a market engagement exercise.
"I have been making the case now since I took up the post, as we had a very dire financial situation in respect of our water and wastewater, pre-Covid," she said.
"With Covid we have seen a dramatic reduction in the income NI Water was receiving. We have around 100 locations that are at, or just about to be at, maximum capacity. We know it is under huge pressure from years and years of neglect.
"We know if we don't invest in the Living with Water Programme or in the waste and water infrastructure, that we are not going to be able to deliver on our Programme for Government outcomes - that's across all the departments.
"There's not an endless pot of money, so you do go into a bidding process with other ministers. But as an Executive as we are agreeing our strategic approach to recovery, then we have to agree on strategic priorities. For me, this is a strategic priority that we all can agree on."