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UK firms could blacklist World Bank projects over unpaid fees

UK CONSULTANTS and contractors are threatening to blacklist projects funded by the World Bank unless it stamps down on the non-payment of fees.

By withholding the last in a series of payments, clients can duck out of 10% to 15% of a firm's earnings.

The British Consultants & Construction Bureau (BCCB) has been asked to help members with seven separate non-payment cases in last month.

The BCCB has been putting pressure on the World Bank in Washington via the local British Consulate and is now enlisting the help of minister for international development Hilary Benn, said BCCB chairman Colin Adams.

Adams and Benn are to meet early next month in a bid to raise pressure on the Washingtonbased organisation.

The World Bank insists that the governments they lend to enter into an approved contract with consultants and contractors.

But it often walks away from the project if payments go awry, said Adams.

The problem is particularly acute in India, Equador and Iran, and is forcing UK firms to rethink their involvement in those countries.

Babtie director Alex MacDonald confirmed that the consultant and some of its competitors are taking an increasingly cautious approach to projects in India.

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