Turkish contractor Limak Insaat and Kuwait’s two largest banks have signed a financing deal to partly fund the construction of Kuwait International Airport’s new passenger terminal.
The contractor said in a statement it has inked a KD249.2 million ($830 million) syndicated credit agreement with the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Kuwait Finance House (KFH).
Under the agreement, NBK and KFH will finance KD124.6 million each to facilitate construction works on the terminal currently being constructed by Limak.
The terminal is designed to handle 25 million passengers per year and accommodate all aircraft types through 51 gates and stands.
At the signing ceremony, Limak chairman Nihat Ozdemir announced the start of construction of the superstructure and the commissioning of the region’s largest steel and concrete cassette factory plus the mobilisation of 33 tower cranes with a lifting capacity of 100 thousand metric tonnes.
“We are extremely happy and proud to have taken part in the construction of this iconic new terminal building which will be Kuwait’s new gateway. This financing agreement demonstrates our capacity to work with international financial institutions for a project that we have undertaken abroad as a Turkish contracting company,” he said.
Limak added that more than 3,000 people are currently working on the project, which is expected to increase to 12,000 by the third quarter of 2019.
Philippine officials to visit Kuwait amid migrant worker row
Philippine officials are headed to Kuwait on Thursday to seek greater protection for migrant workers after a diplomatic row over the alleged mistreatment of Filipinos in the Gulf state.
Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told reporters Wednesday one of his deputies would lead the delegation, which is also due to stop in Saudia Arabia and Qatar to urge reforms.
Topping the list are demands that Filipino workers be allowed to keep their cellphones and passports, which can be confiscated by employers.
The trip comes after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last week announced a departure ban for Filipinos planning to work in Kuwait.
He was responding to the murder of a Filipina maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait this month.
Duterte’s ban sparked a diplomatic flap between the Philippines and the Gulf state as he alleged that Arab employers routinely raped their Filipina workers, forced them to work 21 hours a day and fed them scraps.
Kuwait has invited Duterte for a visit but he has yet to respond.
Authorities say some 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids. They are among over two million employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy.
“We are going to Kuwait tomorrow, Saudi Arabia and then on to Qatar to ensure that our overseas Filipino workers have sufficient protection,” said Labour Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad, who will helm the delegation.
“We are afraid that because of the decision of the president to have a deployment ban, our overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait might be affected,” he added.
Lagunzad said Duterte had ordered the team to ensure that the passports of Filipino workers are deposited with the Philippine embassy.
Duterte also wanted Filipinos to have access to cellphones so they can call for help in case of abuse, Lagunzad said.
About 10 million Filipinos work abroad and their treatment abroad is often a political issue at home.
Another team of labour officials said on Wednesday they would conduct negotiations with Kuwait next week on a deal to protect Filipino workers.
“Hopefully we can finalise the memorandum of agreement and by first or second week of March, we will have the signing by the Kuwaiti and Philippine governments,” said Claro Arellano, another labour undersecretary.