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Challenges faced by labor depts discussed Industry & Labor panel holds 6th meet

KUWAIT CITY, June 24: The Industry and Labor Committee in the Kuwait Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday held its sixth meeting this year. Fahad Yaqoub Al- Jaw’aan presided over the meeting with Public Manpower Authority Director Jamal Mohammad Al-Duweisan, Assistant Undersecretary for the authority Ahmad Musa and Al-Azhar Law Consultant Abdulhameed in attendance. In a press statement after the meeting, the committee revealed the topics discussed included challenges faced by labor departments and officers in dealing with private sector employers, especially in relation to the transfer of residency and evaluation of actual manpower needs. In response to the above, the authority’s officials affirmed that the Labor Department is working relentlessly to establish the Performance Development Authority and to facilitate procedures to bring about remarkable changes in the coming months.

The committee also called for review of several articles in the Labor Law which caused unjustified burdens on the employers and increased the cost of manpower recruitment, particularly the articles phrased generously to encourage national manpower to join the private sector. The committee pointed out these articles gave almost half a million foreign manpower certain privileges and exceptional conditions; thereby, increasing the recruitment cost, in addition to the repercussions of the National Manpower Aid Law. The two sides agreed on activating the Consultation Committee for Labor Affairs, which consists of three labor parties, in accordance with international and Arab labor standards. They also acknowledged the importance of employers’ representation in the Board of Directors of the Public Manpower Authority, where the board will include two representatives of each of employer and labor union based on international, Arab and national labor rules.

On rumors that the ministry intends to open the door for issuance of work permits to bring foreign manpower into the country, the committee highlighted the repercussions of such a move due to the possibility that it might increase the number of marginal workers. The committee warned this might make the population structure lopsided and expand visa trading amidst efforts being exerted by the ministry to eliminate these negative phenomena. It then emphasized the need to discuss the issue with employers to come up with balanced decisions to protect the economic interests of the country. The committee also revealed that authority will soon activate the golden list system to include companies which are physically and actively present in the local market, to assess the departments tasked to determine the actual manpower needs and those in charge of inspection, while training programs will be designed for these departments to improve their performance. To improve the productivity of the concerned departments, the authority’s database system has been linked with several government authorities like the Ministry of Interior and the Public Authority of Civil Information. Steps are being taken to link these authorities with the Department of Licensing in the Ministry of Commerce in order to ease procedures in determining the actual manpower needs and facilitate processes for companies.

The committee also tackled complaints which the chambers received from companies, such as the difficulties they encountered in procuring kerosene and diesel. The difficulties are believed to be results of recent news on lifting subsidies, which will negatively affect the cost of production and lose the competitive edge of local products in the market. The committee recommended special consideration on this matter, since this decision came due to the prevalence of diesel smuggling operations and it is illogical for the industrial sector to bear the consequences of such illegal practices. The meeting concluded with a presentation done by the chambers on the distribution of almost 80 fields of industrial investments with each field having the capacity to accommodate more projects in a bid to achieve the industrial development goals of the country.

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