Maldives Association of Construction Industry is up in arms against recent decision by the Immigration Department to curb labor exploitation citing that the imposed deposit will cripple the industry. According to Haveeru they are negotiating with the Immigration to lessen the deposit for big construction companies. There seems to be very little debate on the issue in blogosphere or in media and if MACI is going to have its way and the Immigration is forced to backtrack from their earlier decision, there is a good chance that the situation will of labor exploitation will be in square one.
The situation of construction industry in our country is just like the situation in our film industry… everything is chaotic and in ridiculous state with no hope in sight. There are only glimmers of hope here and there that small things will happpen little by little and yet as soon as some small good deed is done to alleviate a particular suffering, voices are being raised from across sectors of those who have vested interested to keep the situation as it is. For example the construction industry can be said to exist to benefit only a handful of construction groups who for years has had insider dealings with the Planning Ministry which got lucrative contracts for big projects for them and their friends who are only sleeping partners to the bussiness. The actual back breaking work is done by locals youth who invariably after every project will be seen in and out of courts fighting for their money being swindled away by their group leader or someone else. This is about 80% of the time the case is. As for the expats, they fare worse sometimes working like in slavery conditions sometimes only to be sent home when they demand money after 6 or 8 months they have gone without pay.
Then there is the skills shortage everyone cries about but forgets that as long as this sub-contracting chain goes on unregulated, there is very little hope that those locals who have expertise can be found to join the construction industry simply because all the monies of a project simply vanishes away by the time it reaches those who actually do any work by hand to the sub-contracting chain.
The only hope for the construction industry is to do away with the scourge of sub-contracting to sleeping partners who do nothing except reap undue benefits of others labur and the way to go about is to legislate and install stringent measures for the industry. What MACI is doing is only making a big fuss about pure and simple labor exploitation which shall not be allowed to happen.