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December 21, 2020

LWMC, Turkish contractors lock horns over waste lifting vehicles

Lahore

December 21, 2020

LAHORE:The Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and its Turkish contractors have locked horns over the custody of specialised waste lifting vehicles as the waste collection agreement is expiring on December 31, 2020.

In this regard, LWMC has written a letter to its Turkish contractor demanding custody of the specialised vehicles on expiry of the contract. This was done as LWMC didn’t have any specialised vehicles in its fleet. Recently, LWMC gave an advertisement to get tractor-trolleys and pick-ups on rent for waste collection till the government gives a final verdict whether the LWMC itself would collect the waste or it will outsource the waste collection.

In the letter issued to both its Turkish contractors, LWMC asked them to handover the machinery and equipment under the clause 29.1 of the agreement. This clause states “Upon expiration or termination of this agreement, contractor shall remove its personnel from the project. Contractor shall leave the project in as good condition as it was on the effective date, except normal wear and tear and casualty. Contractor shall be paid all unpaid reimbursable costs. Properties those belong to the client like all special tools, improvements, vehicles, inventory of supplies, spare parts, safety equipment, operating manuals and procedure manuals, operating logs, record and documents maintained by contractor and any other items furnished on a reimbursable cost basis under this agreement will be left at the project and will become or remain the property of client without additional charge.”

However, both Turkish contractors and LWMC are treating this clause differently. Turkish contractors are terming the move of the LWMC illegal and against the contract whereas LWMC MD Imran Sultan declared the move legal and as per the bid document.

Sources said the Turkish contractors have sought legal opinion on the letters issued to them by the LWMC and said that they will take all measures included informing their higher managements in Turkey as well as starting a legal battle locally and internationally to save their assets.

They said that the fleet of specialised vehicles, which they brought with them from Turkey, was their property and LWMC can’t take over these vehicles because LWMC didn’t reimburse its cost to its contractors.

However, the LWMC MD while talking with the scribe two days back said that according to the bid document the Turkish contractors were bound to hand over their fleet of specialised vehicles to LWMC at the end of the contract, which is expiring on December 31, 2020.

To a question that Turkish contractors are saying that LWMC didn’t give any reimbursement cost to them for the vehicles, he said the government gave them relaxations in various taxes and customs duty. He said that if they didn’t hand over the fleet, LWMC will seek the support of administration for the purpose.

Sources revealed that recently the deputy commissioner Lahore also held a meeting with the Turkish contractors in which the issue of vehicles was discussed. Sources said the Turkish contractors clearly told the DC Lahore that they will not hand over their fleet of specialised vehicles to LWMC.

Sources said that according to the legal opinion sought by one of the Turkish contractors, its lawyers told the company that the contractor can only hand over two types of machinery and equipment to LWMC at the time of termination or expiry of the agreement. This included the machinery and equipment that belonged to the client (LWMC) and was used by the contractor for the project and the other category included the inventory procured by the contractor while its cost was reimbursed by the client.

Sources claimed that managements of both Turkish contractors of LWMC have asked their local set-ups to abstain from going into any further bidding or investment in Pakistan till the resolution of the issues with LWMC.

LWMC has so far not settled the pending issues of payments and taxes with the Turkish contractors and a huge payment of over Rs2 billion was still pending. Turkish contractors claimed that despite repeated reminders LWMC was not holding any meetings with the Turkish contractors to settle the pending issue to end the contract in a professional manner.

Sources, however, said that the Turkish contractors are in a full mood to knock the doors of international forums in case LWMC does not clear their dues, which may result in differences between the two brotherly countries at diplomatic level.

Sources in LWMC said that instead of getting specialised waste lifting machinery on rent the company has opted for simple tractor-trolleys and pick-ups, which may not give the same performance.

When contacted, the LWMC Board of Directors chairman said that the company has opted for the difficult decision of not extending the contract of Turkish companies because they had already been given four extensions. He said he himself had held a meeting with Turkish contractors and requested them to support LWMC in the coming hard times by giving their vehicles.

He said so far the machinery will be taken on rent on temporary basis such as six months during which the company will prepare and float new international tender. He said this time the tender will be made in a way which will give benefit to the nation.

“In the new tender we will not pay in US dollars,” he said and added that the Turkish contractors may also participate in the upcoming tender. A spokesperson for LWMC, on a question of clearance of pending payments to the Turkish contractors, said LWMC will clear all its obligations once the audit paras made against Turkish contractors in the forensic audit were settled.

He said that LWMC is ready to resolve all disputes with its Turkish contractors amicably and by following diplomatic norms. He said Pakistan and Turkey are two brotherly countries and both have always enjoyed good relations with each other.