KUWAIT: Workers, suppliers, subcontractors and other staff working on a vital project in Kuwait City have not received their salaries since the past few months.
Some of them have left the project while others are trying to survive. This case may affect the reputation of Kuwait and some companies may lose interest in executing projects in the state. “It is very sad to see the workers asking for their late salaries every day. I feel very embarrassed when facing these employees daily, and the hardest situation was when one worker came crying and wanted to kiss my feet to get his salary, as he has two children. I promised to pay him soon, but I do not know how if our problem is not solved,”
Ertan Bayraktar, director of the subcontracting company of the project, told Kuwait Times. The project is a parking lot consisting of six floors that can accommodate 2,600 vehicles. It is owned by the Kuwait Municipality, which is in charge to pay for the project to the main contractor Eresco.
Bayraktar claims that he has already paid over KD 700,000 from his pocket and has not received any of the four delayed payments. “We only received the down payment of the contract – 10 percent of the project’s value – which equals KD 483,000.
The project should be executed in 18 months, the first six for planning and designing, and the other 12 for execution. We started to work on the project according to the plan and are still working on it, yet we haven’t received any payment,” explained Bayraktar.
According to him, the legal period to pay the first payment was till May 4, 2015. “Since the first eligible payment, we have not received any payments, and today we are entitled to four payments of a total value of KD 1.4 million. The last of these payments should have been paid in Oct 2015. We tried to resolve the problem peacefully with the Municipality, but we didn’t reach any result. So within two weeks, we are going to file a case at the court,” he said.
After this experience, Bayraktar cannot recommend working with Kuwaiti institutions. “When asked about my experience working here by the Turkish company that will be executing the Kuwait airport project, I told them everything about my problems with the municipality. I think such experiences will put off foreign companies from executing projects in Kuwait. Also, I really feel sorry as this was an important project in this location, which is notorious for a great shortage of parking spaces that our project would resolve,” he concluded.
By Nawara Fattahova