By Umar Khan
Tripoli, 7 July, 2013:
Claiming it is underpaid, undervalued and possibly being replaced by a Turkish contractor, the company responsible . . .[restrict]for cleansing the capital’s streets is to stage a protest tomorrow outside the prime minister’s office.
The General Company for Cleaning Tripoli (GCCT) is asking for more funds to be made available, in line with Ministry of Local Government promises, since they claim that the LD 43 million they currently, receive does not even cover the salaries of their 5,400 workforce.
The GCCT has been struggling to perform its duties since the liberation of Tripoli on 20 Aug 2011. Initially the company fell outside the original control by Tripoli Local Council (TLC). However, after severe criticism by TLC officials as well as the public, it was agreed to increase coordination between the two and appointed a new chairman for its subsidiary, GCCT.
Yet trash collection is still an issue in the capital and nationwide. The local government ministry is looking for alternatives strategies. A source in the ministry confirmed that there have been recent developments in negotiations to give a contract to a Turkish company that would clean city streets throughout Libya. “After looking at the situation on the streets, the ministry decided to bring a foreign company to improve the situation” said the sources, adding, “but many are opposing the decision internally.”
Aadel Bukrah, the new chairman of GCCT explained to the Libya Herald why they would be protesting tomorrow morning. “We have been told from March this year that our problem would be solved and the right budget would be provided but it has been all talk. We’ve had several meetings. We submitted ten different letters reminding them of the crisis, but we are still awaiting a response to any of them.”
Bukrah said that the Ministry for Local Government knows the company needs more funds to perform its duties in a professional manner but there has been no action from their side at all.
“We get LD 46 million per annum, roughly LD 3.9 million. It is not even sufficient for the salaries let alone the full operations of the company ranging from logistics, collection, treatment and sub-contractors,” he said. GCCT submitted a new proposal in March 2013 that, said Bukrah, would see it performing all its operations perfectly but didn’t receive any response.
He also confirmed that GCCT has enough staff and facilities to clean the city and maintain. It simply needed adequate funding. “We have 3000 local employees and 2400 foreigners that can get the work done. They talk about getting the Turkish firms to do it. I told them we only need technical advisors from them and we can do the rest.”