Instances of “delayed payment” for some of the works executed by contractors are believed to have adversely affected the construction industry. Due to this, it is learnt, some projects have been slowed down over the past few months.
Corroborating this, sources in the industry, including those executing key infrastructure projects at a number of locations, said contracting firms have not been able to deploy workers in adequate numbers on many projects due to numerous factors, including “delayed payment from parties concerned”.
While work on some major projects, such as the one executed along the Corniche, did not face any hassles, things are believed to be different at some of the other sites, including road projects, enquiries have revealed.
Representatives of some of the companies that are carrying out works said they are borrowing heavily to ensure speedy completion of their projects. They, however, are not sure as to how long they can continue due to the delay in payments from many sectors. “While payments used to be very regular some two years ago, nowadays there is a big delay in settling bills,” said a senior manager of a contracting firm, adding that even some big agencies are asking for more time to settle dues.
A contractor said the recent scam involving a “fraudulent” firm, which rocked the country’s construction supplies sector, would also adversely affect the industry in the coming days. The contractor also felt that such fraudulent practices would further slow down works in many areas.
Meanwhile, enquiries at some of the Asian diplomatic missions revealed that they were still being flooded with complaints of non-payment of salaries or delayed payment. Going by the figures released by an embassy at its community house recently, it was found that there was no reduction in the number of such complaints as compared to figures from the last two years. Several complaints received at the embassies these days are about the non-payment of salaries in the construction and related sectors, it is understood.
“While workers usually hold their employers responsible for delayed salaries, the latter point fingers at the channels from where the payment is supposed to come from,” said a senior engineer who has observed the construction industry for the past 20 years. Terming the phenomenon as “somewhat common” across the region’s states, he said it was high time the local system was set in order as the demand for construction workers was expected to go up in the coming months.
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