MANY people in Kuwait believe the measures taken by the government were not all prudent, and that some of these measures were improvised and have begun to manifest their negative impact on the economy and exacerbate the problems.
Also, majority of the people believe the government and the Parliament are back with their usual wrangling and side battles. This means frustration of any effort to fix the current situation that needs an actual rescue operation and not sedative solutions or promises that would make matters worse.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the two authorities – legislative and executive – have been preoccupied with the issue of direct orders, and the issue of contracts/tenders in Ministry of Health.
The Cabinet urged the public to exercise their legal duties in reporting cases of corruption of all kinds to the relevant authorities. At the same time, it warned the information and media platforms against publishing any suspicion of corruption without presenting evidences, and that failure to do so would render those involved to prosecution. This means the whole fighting corruption rhetoric is just Cabinet’s smokescreen.
Nonetheless, we ask – Isn’t it the responsibility of the oversight authorities to follow up these matters and scrutinize them? Isn’t it the job of the media to shed light on the deficiencies? Doesn’t the role of the activists on social media involve asking questions about issues that concern people?
More surprising from the government was the economic stimulus package that it had promised and the schedules and implementation strategy it had laid down. However, most of it is yet to be achieved on the ground, and whatever has been achieved was done so at a snail pace.
The Central Bank or the local banks did not move in this direction to materialize things on the ground, and the government did not work on accelerating and facilitating the delivery of this economic stimulus package or rather financial incentives to the private sector, which is currently the most suffering sector due to the coronavirus crisis.
Furthermore, many countries, especially our neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others, have used their financial reserves and also taken advantage of their international reputation in this regard to borrow at a low interest rate. They are buying bonds and shares, and investing in the currently lucrative sectors; all this in the name of boosting their sovereign wealth.
In Kuwait, the government and the authorities responsible for sovereign investment are still waiting for the approval of some or the other MP. If one of MPs posts on his Twitter account, the Cabinet trembles, while the opportunities fly away, and Kuwait ends up delaying instead of advancing.
It is very unfortunate to witness the government holding back in this manner. This would never end well for the country and its people. Kuwait was a pioneer in investments, and its sovereign fund represented a global model. Why has it lagged behind, retreated, and entered a vicious circle?
In light of this chaos and the confusion experienced by the government and everything that jitters the government such as the topics being discussed or published in the media or its fear of MPs who are out to seek electoral gains because the elections are on the doors, the matter remains in the hands of the Head of the State to rescue the country once again by issuing emergency decrees along the lines of the one-vote decree.
This would reassure the public, and quell chaos and confusion by setting in motion whatever was approved by the government, and the banks, by the orders of the Central Bank, would facilitate loans and present financial incentives.
We are currently looking up to His Highness the Amir to rescue us economically the way he rescued us politically. We urge the government not to waste this opportunity to borrow at low interest rates, and to work on boosting its financial reserves and its global stocks so that the value of its sovereign assets does not decline and as well as its credit ratings.
Undoubtedly, the situation to remain in its current status quo is not in the interest of the economy of our beloved country.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times