By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
Intense competition in what is being described as “too small a market” has landed suppliers of construction materials in Qatar in a dilemma.
The suppliers have also called for stringent laws to rein in “fradulent” firms in the wake of allegations of one such company duping a number of businessmen.
Well-placed sources among the suppliers have told Gulf Times that they have “fewer options as there are too many players in the market” and hence no business is possible these days without giving at least 30-45 days’ credit to the customers.
“The situation has resulted in the mushrooming of fake companies, not only in Qatar but also across the region. Many of these ‘newcomers’ are taking undue advantage and causing irreparable damage to the business and bringing considerable disrepute to the industry,” a senior businessman pointed out.
He was reacting to a Gulf Times report on Saturday about the latest scam in the construction supplies business in which a fraudulent firm allegedly duped a number of businessmen to the tune of over QR6mn.
Explaining the predicament of the country’s businessmen, especially suppliers of construction materials, a senior official of an equipment company said if no credit is offered to clients in a highly competitive market such as Qatar, it is next to impossible for most trading houses to operate.
He recalled an incident earlier this year when his company, along with many others, were duped of a big amount by a fraudulent group. Inquiries found that its operators managed to flee the country after swindling many traders.
In the latest incident, it was found that the culprits placed large and tempting orders with some local firms and earned their confidence in a short period of one or two months, during which they not only managed to purchase goods without any payment but were also successful in inking deals with some construction companies and sold the goods at much lower rates than their purchase prices before vanishing from the country.
The manager of a company, which was duped by some buyers a few years ago, called for the introduction of stringent laws to check some malpractices.
“If there are no legal measures, there is every possibility that more such scams will hit the market in the coming years, especially since there will be enormous construction activity across the country at least for the next 10-15 years,” he said.
Soon after the Gulf Times report on Saturday, a number of businessmen from different sectors wanted to get the details of the fraudulent company both as a preventive measure and also to ensure that their firms were not cheated by the
“We were all about to be duped by the group’s managers but for some of our alert staffers. One of our managers found something fishy in their dealings and declined to honour their orders,” said a senior official of a prominent company.
Interestingly, the fraudulent firm, which claims that it has operations in Malaysia as well, has also advertised “vacancies in its marketing department” on its website.