By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: People have been complaining of waiting in long queues at fuel stations around Kuwait. The reason given is that the petrol pumps are not fully operational due to a great shortage of staff. The stations blamed the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) of not allowing them to recruit staff from abroad, claiming the staff available in Kuwait are not trained for this job.

After Kuwait Times contacted PAM, it issued a statement clarifying that reports published in some papers and on social media on importing labor for fuel stations is not accurate. PAM assured its decisions have been consistent since 2015, and that the list of needs assessment issued by the authority since 2016 has not witnessed any fundamental changes, whether related to fuel companies or other employers. All companies and employers are subject to the labor law in the private sector.

In the statement, PAM also clarified that none of these companies have contacted the authority regarding this problem. Most of these companies have suitable needs assessment for their commercial activities, which was issued based on the demand submitted by the representatives of these companies.

The statement included the exact number of needs assessment of each of the fuel station companies. One had permission to hire 892 workers, but the company only recruited 412 workers from abroad, while the actual number of workers is 530 workers presently. This means their unused needs assessment is of 362 workers.

Another fuel company was given a needs assessment of 710 workers, but the company only recruited 342 workers on work permits from abroad, while their actual number of workers is currently 567. So their unused needs assessment is of 143 workers. PAM concluded the statement by assuring that its doors are open to welcome both employers and employees at its various locations or on its social media channels.

Kuwait Times tried to contact three fuel station companies for the past two days, but none of them responded or agreed to give a statement or comment on this issue. On Monday, Kuwait National Petroleum Company issued a statement that no extra changes will be applied for filling up fuel, and that self service will be voluntary.