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‘End sponsorship system to prevent abuse of rights’ ‘Diversify economy for better future’

KUWAIT CITY, May 14: In this week’s online poll, the Arab Times asked voters what the Parliament should take as its priorities to foster national development. A huge majority of votes went to ‘ending of sponsorship system.’ It won 45% of the votes.

Respondents said that sponsorship system is restricting skills from exploring new opportunities and reaching the full potential. “When you have the freedom to move from one employee to another, without fear, this would give employees the confidence and courage to use their abilities in ways that would maximize output.”

Moreover, they added that the current sponsorship system is leading to a lot of human rights abuses, especially in the domestic labor sector. “A country with a blot mark on human rights records will be unable to grow to its full potential. For free market to function effectively, there should be real freedom on the ground.”

The rest of the votes were scattered between many options, with diversification of economy getting the second highest votes at 12 %. Respondents who supported this view said this is the most obvious choice for Kuwait’s development in future. “To be overly dependent on one source of revenue is like putting all your eggs in one basket. If it falls, you lose everything.” Further they said that oil is a finite resource. “Nobody is sure as to how long the reserves in Kuwait would last. Or oil might lose its value to competition from green energy such as solar and wind, which can be replenished.

Kuwait has to make the best use of its wealth today, and invest wisely so that its future is preserved.” When probed about options for diversifying economy, most people suggested tourism. They felt Kuwait has a lot of potential to develop tourism because of the long beaches and cosmopolitan culture. About 10% of the voters had voted that the Parliament should give priority to promote tourism in the country. “If Kuwait uses its resources well, and invests in developing tourism projects like Dubai, it would easily become the top tourist destination in the region.” Kuwait, the respondents added, has the money to build huge theme parks, develop beach front real estate or even extend into the sea to build artificial islands. “The infrastructure should be adequately developed including public transportation systems like metros.”

11% of the votes like to see more money spent on the development of infrastructure. “That’s the key to development. What’s the point of having a car, when you don’t have a road to ride on?” Most of the problems such as over crowding and the traffic jams are a result of poor infrastructure. “Population growth is a sign of prosperity, and should not be taken as an adversity. The country should grow with the population.”

8% of the voters supported controlling of crime rate in the country. Respondents took the example of the recent shooting of the two security workers. “When crime rate goes up, it will affect business and investment.” Next to political uncertainties and regulatory issues, investors fear crime the most, respondents added. “Therefore, not controlling crimes will eventually hit the country’s development.” Others noted that crime and development together form a vicious loop. When crime goes up, development suffers, which in turn affects employment leading to poverty, which induces crime.” Clearing illegal expatriates from the country received 4% of the votes.

A report on the Parliament approving an expat residence bill was cited by some respondents, who welcomed the move. “Illegal residents are another cause of crime.” Nationalization, cutting expatriate subsidies and taxation won very few votes, under 1 %.

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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