KD 5.4b allotted for 2013/14 development strategy: Shimali Finmin opens confab on role of private sector

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 17, (KUNA): The Ministry of Finance has recently formed six teams to examine and conform ventures of the fourth development plan (2013-2014) with projects included in budgets of government departments, Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali announced on Sunday.

Al-Shimali, in an inaugural statement of the conference themed “role of the private sector in development and infrastructural projects of 2013,” revealed that more than KD 5.4 billion had been earmarked for execution of the development strategy (2013-2014). This covers forecast costs of various aspects and sections of the plan, namely concerning infrastructure.

Action is underway for improving the regulatory status of financial investments in the country, “preparing an adequate administrative and legal environment for the private sector and upgrading the infrastructure, such as hiking electrical energy output and increasing productivity of water desalination plants to meet mounting demand,” Al-Shimali declared.

Indicating that the private sector is being given the chance to take part in projects for upgrading Kuwait’s land, maritime, air transport networks, energy, health and education services, Al-Shimali affirmed that the national development strategy is devised to transform Kuwait into a lucrative financial hub, with an environment of free competition, equal opportunities, and mounting output.

Asserting that he was hoping that the private sector, namely the banks, would take part in funding some of the key ventures to develop and modernize Kuwait further, the minister affirmed the government’s sincere desire to let the private sector have stakes in such ventures, noting formation of a technical apparatus for BOT and BBB projects.

Toufiq Al-Jarrah, Chairman of the Real-Estate Union, affirmed that the conference was aimed at promoting awareness on necessity of development and infrastructural ventures, with emphasis on the role of the private and public sectors, as well as promoting Kuwait as a major regional market for investments.

Guidelines of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah constitute the main blueprint for efforts at placing Kuwait on the map of economic development, on par with other regional countries. “Perhaps, one of the major steps that should be taken by the government currently is hiking capital expenditure,” he opined.

Elaborating on other needed moves, he noted necessity of allocating more land plots for investment and aiding stumbling companies, still suffering from ripples of the global financial crisis.
The government has expressed serious desire to coordinate between the public and private sectors to boost development, “however, some relevant laws must be amended to aid such an approach,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile, economic experts spoke about slackness in the execution of projects whose budgets were approved in 2010.
“The state bodies have to accelerate the execution of the development plan to achieve its objectives,” former Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdulwahab Al-Haroun stressed.
He added that the state executive bodies shoulder the responsibility of putting these multi-billion Kuwaiti dinars plan into effect.

“So these bodies have to employee professional cadres and experts to forge ahead with the plan projects without more loss of time,” Al-Haroun said.
He noted that accelerating the development projects would help restore people confidence and will encourage private sector and foreign investors to pour in more capitals in the Kuwaiti market.
For his part, Director of the technical committee for studying development projects Adel Al-Rumi said the committee has completed studying of several new ambitious development projects.
He underscored the need for significant contribution from the private sector in the development projects in Kuwait.

“The committee will do it best to overcome any bureaucratic obstacles facing the investment in development projects in a short time,” Al-Rumi said.
He disclosed that the committee has unveiled four development projects; North Al-Zour Power Station, Khiran and Umm al-Hayman projects to re-refining sewage water and a solid waste recycling plant in Kabd, adding that 20 projects will be put up for investors in the coming three years.

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