Small scale business owners ‘criticise’ bill Certain jobs unsuitable for Kuwaitis

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 15: Several small business owners have criticized certain provisions in the bill related to supporting national workforce in the private sector.

Even though they affirmed that the private sector should take up its role in combating the unemployment crisis, they insisted that the small business owners should be exempted from this requirement, as their businesses are based on general trading and contracting.

They indicated that the national workforce should be employed in large companies with huge capitals, taking into consideration that the ‘national manpower’ support law cannot be implemented on small industrial businesses.

Businessman Saad Sharar Al-Azmi, who owns three business licenses — two for scrap-yards in Amghara and third for producing fiberglass material, indicated that the Ministry of Labor has set several obstacles on artisanship companies, which are not suitable for employment of national manpower in those areas.

“I am ready to employ national manpower but the problem is they cannot work in such areas. Because of this, I am forced to employ expatriates from a certain country in order for me to run my business properly”, indicated Al-Azmi.

He pointed out, “According to the law, Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor forces us to pay huge sum of money to employ expatriates, as though they want to punish small establishments for not employing citizens of Kuwait. However, the fact is Kuwaitis refuse to work for such kind of jobs”.

Al-Azmi is forced to pay almost KD 4,000 annually for renewing the work permits of his 25 expatriate employees. He refused the idea of phony employment of Kuwaiti citizens who will receive financial support from the government when in reality they will not work in his company.

Businessman Naji Al-Khatlan, who is concerned about the political affairs of Kuwait, affirmed that Kuwaiti youths are interested in working in the private sector.

He revealed that he was ambitious about working in the private sector, adding that he was ready to do even hard labor in scrapyard. He stressed that if the youths’ perception is nurtured in a positive manner, they will be ready to accept jobs in any field in the private sector.

Al-Khatalan pointed out that companies that receive huge contract deals are usually conditioned to employ national labor to execute such contracts but the problem arises when these companies impose same conditions on their subcontractors.

He said there are big companies that receive tenders for laundering money, which is why they end up settling for a small profit margin.

Head of Trading and Contracting Companies Union Dr Saleh Bursli said the ‘national manpower support law’ should be used as a tool to create equality in the private sector in order for the sector to positively support solving the unemployment crisis that the country is going through.

He indicated that this law should exempt small businesses because such businesses are unable to employ Kuwaiti citizens as manual and field laborers.

By: Najeh Bilal Special to the Arab Times

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