Your People ‘thirst’, deserve compassion

WHY does Kuwait act like a spring which supplies water to people who live far away while those who live nearby are thirsty? Why does it intend to spend $20 billion in aid to other Gulf and Arab states, yet almost a quarter of its citizens need financial assistance? Is this not a bizarre situation which is difficult to explain, unless someone is impeding efforts to solve the problem in a bid to incite people against the government?

According to reports, Kuwait has been offering financial assistance to many Gulf and Arab states over the last four years to boost their economies and resolve the political crises which pose a grave threat to the security and stability of these countries. Distribution of the $20 billion aid, out of which $5 billion had been given to some beneficiaries, will be completed in the next four years.

The abovementioned amount was allocated as per the decisions taken by the Kuwaiti government and the GCC Summit. We welcome decisions to support GCC countries like Bahrain and Oman, as well as other Arab nations, such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, among others. The financial support is required to avoid the crises experienced by some countries which witnessed the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ like Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria and Libya.
If the country is so generous, why does the government keep on ignoring the request of a large number of citizens to address a certain issue which led to political and national crises that continue to snowball? When will disagreements over the solution end? Until when will division that determines the fate of thousands of citizens last?

Our discussion is about the divergent opinions on the proposed cancellation of citizens’ loans or interest on these loans. Some people seem oblivious to the natural principle of justice, which states that a verdict will never be favorable to all parties. Whoever benefits from the verdict will applaud it, while the loser will reject it.
The same principle is applicable to other issues, because some people support laws and decrees while others oppose them. The leader should ensure the decision is just and beneficial to the majority, and the judiciary must be allowed to play its role in settling disputes.

 Therefore, the loan cancellation issue, which affects 340,000 citizens - 100,000 of whom have been referred to the court for failure to pay, has its own set of supporters and critics. Unfortunately, the critics’ voice is louder even if they have no convincing justification. Some of them claim the debtors have obtained loans for leisure trips, expensive cars and other luxury items. They ignored those who spent the money on treatment after the Health Ministry rejected their applications for overseas treatment; in addition to many others used the loan for the completion of their houses, education of their children abroad, and necessary expenses.

The critics have not taken into consideration the banking errors which encouraged people to take loans. They just claim that the cancellation of loans or interest is unfair without any justification.
The issue concerns almost a quarter of the Kuwaiti population, so the government must find a lasting solution rather than giving false hopes which might aggravate the problem. They should be protected from arrest orders or the wrath of creditors.

Apparently, some people are keen on spreading rumors to provoke mass revolt against the government and this is the most dangerous aspect of the issue. Although we welcome the decision of Kuwait to provide assistance to some Gulf and Arab countries and organizations, we still feel it should prioritize the needs of its citizens to maintain national stability. This is a logical step especially this time when some people have started using the issue as a tool for political and electoral blackmail, as well as incitement of public revolt against the government.

Whoever cares about the country’s stability and public funds should realize this situation and prevent the blackmail. If Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali believes the Needy Fund is the only solution, why did he not raise the capital from KD600 million to KD1 billion? He should also put pressure on banks that must be held responsible for unpardonable errors by bearing the brunt of bad debts whether they like it or not.
All debtors should be categorized as needy, so the banks don’t act like a sword pointed at the necks of citizens. Is it reasonable for Kuwait to act like a spring which supplies water to other countries while its citizens are thirsty?


By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah

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