By Andy Sambidge www.arabianbusiness.com
Japanese construction companies are facing “serious debt problems” amid issues with being paid for work done in Dubai, a top ranking official has said.
Seiichi Otsuka, the Japanese consul general in Dubai, claimed firms are still owed billions of dollars on projects that include the Dubai Metro and Palm Island, UAE daily The National reported on Sunday.
Japanese builders have played a major role in Dubai’s construction boom, spearheading work on the metro and other key projects in the emirate.
“Some Japanese construction companies are facing very serious debt problems,” Otsuka told the paper. “Some companies engaged with the construction of the Metro are facing some payment issues.”
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the lead company for the metro contract, are among those firms affected by non-payment on contracts, the paper added.
“MHI executed the construction of the Dubai Metro and some other contracts and we are still awaiting payment,” said Koji Okamoto, the general manager of the Middle East office of MHI in Dubai. The company has contracts in the Middle East valued at $150bn.
The Japanese government has not discussed the payment issues with the Dubai Government, nor has it intervened with financial assistance to those companies affected, Otsuka said.
“We are in a position to push both sides to make an amicable solution,” he said.
Otsuka told the paper it was difficult to put a figure on the outstanding debt as some payment was due shortly.
Last month, it was reported that some UK contractors were turning down invitations to chase work in Dubai because of continuing doubts over whether they will be paid on time.
According to Nelson Ogunshakin, the chief executive of the UK Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), a large number of UK firms significant number of UK firms are still owed money by struggling developers in the emirate.
In July, the UK government reiterated its call for contractors to be paid by Dubai developers – and said it was “continuing to monitor the situation”.