WITH the drop in oil prices, there have been constant talks about cutting down expenditure but surprisingly we have yet to see the light of day in this domain and the reason being our executive authorities — the government and the Parliament — are very clever at identifying problems but not providing solutions.
For example when we talk about overseas treatment, we get a flood of viewpoints and the Parliament calling for taking a serious note but nothing has been forthcoming.
This is because, when the same lawmakers are confronted on this issue, they immediately oppose the move saying this should not happen at the expense of poor citizens in spite of the fact that they very well realize that the beneficiaries hold the key to elections and they are the ones who benefit from this ‘tourism treatment.’
There is no need either to diagnose maladies or increase their reasons just like it happens with our current budget draft which seemingly rests on the slogan ‘Kuwait does not suffer from any problem.’
This is because evidence shows there is no serious intention to work in this regard since the ‘masters’ have shown a disregard to the decision of the one who is more keen about the interests of the country and has slashed the expenditure of his Diwan and cut down the budget to size, whereas our government is keen on adapting itself to the tantrums of our lawmakers. The government gives the appearance that it voluntarily succumbs to the parliamentary blackmail.
Do we not know that all GCC oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar have taken courageous steps to rein in the crisis and not let its consequences impede their economies?
They have taken steps to surmount recession and activate the private sector but our lawmakers and politicians are harping on the same tune of corruption and the corrupt people and other related issues which show our weaknesses in realizing the size of our problem. In spite of all this we continue and attempt to dodge and confront the truth.
This reminds us of the situation in Egypt and a number of Arab countries in the 1950s when charges of espionage took center stage and ‘we’ were accused of being agents of US intelligence, Zionism and backwardness in an attempt to weaken the country. This was an escape route from problems which the Arab societies were confronting at that time.
After six decades of such nonsense, we see what has happened to these countries. They are entrapped by their own misdeeds and futile arguments involving their institutions and politicians who are only keen on diagnosing problems not solving them but good at trading accusations.
Since we do not want our country to face the same fate and be a victim of senseless slogans, we must stop diagnosing the maladies.
Moreover, the government and the Parliament must work seriously to provide appropriate solutions for the problems otherwise, the voter who is now used a weapon to milk public funds will be the first to hold these people responsible for any deterioration the country may face.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times