By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: The food trucks parked on the seaside near Green Island are facing a plethora of problems. Not only are customers significantly fewer during the holy month Ramadan, but they also face many obstacles. Abdullah Al-Saadoun, owner of a food truck which serves different kinds of beverages, complained he had to unfairly pay fines. “To park my food truck here, I must pay rent to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry online.
For three months, the same error occurred on their website, and a total of KD 120 was deducted from my bank account, yet my payment was not confirmed. During this period, the Municipality (which is in charge of inspecting the licenses), issued two fines to my truck, although I have the bank statement proving my payment and deduction from my bank account,” he told Kuwait Times.
“I went personally to the ministry to clarify this failure on their official website, but I didn’t resolve the problem or reach any result after meeting many officials in three locations including the Ministries Complex, Ishbiliya Center and South Surra Center. I even asked my friends who work at the ministry to pay on behalf of me. When I asked them to pay in person at the ministry, they said this option is not available, and I must only pay online. I wonder why, as the pandemic is over,” Saadoun asked.
When he tried to complain, he was unsuccessful. “The number for complaints is never answered. The employee at the ministry advised me to send an email, but nobody answered to any of the tens of emails that I already sent. I spoke to other truck owners and most of them are facing the same problem,” he concluded.
Mohammed Saad, owner of another truck, complained of a shortage of spaces by the seaside. “The ministry should set a limit for occupied spaces. It is not fair to let one user take three or four spaces, while there are only a total of nine or ten spots in each location on the seafront. These trucks owners have wasta, so they get many spaces, while we only get one spot,” he explained.
Jaafar Sadeq is the owner a food truck that is operating there since June 2021. He sells various kinds of foods, sweets and beverages. He powers his truck through solar panels. “During the day, I store energy from the sun, and when I shut down at night, I switch to this energy for the refrigerators inside the truck so the food will not get spoiled. Sometimes, I face problem with municipal inspectors who ask me to park the truck vertically to fit in one space, while I need it to be positioned horizontally to provide space for the solar panels,” he said.
“I have chosen this location as I believe I can help people and not just sell my products. I have faced such a situation many times, when some people had low blood pressure or low sugar levels and collapsed. So I was near to help them,” added Sadeq.
Cleanliness is another problem he faces. “Every day I have to pay street cleaners to clean the place around my truck as people always throw rubbish. Sometimes I don’t find any worker, so I have to clean the area before I close the truck and before I open it the next day,” stressed Sadeq.
Ahmad, owner of a food truck operating in the area for about four months, said he faces problems with electricity and water. “I don’t have power supply for my truck, so I use a generator for cooking, which is very expensive. Also, I bring water containers for washing fruit, vegetables and equipment,” he noted.