|In the early sixties, our fathers presented Kuwait with almost everything on a gold plate including the best hospital (Sabah Hospital), best equipped huge schools with libraries containing the latest and best Arabic and English books, the best sports stadium to hold any sport even field hockey, the best dormitory with three hot meals every day and the most equipped kitchen in the Middle East. They invited and hosted the most famous singers in the Arab world. Our fathers did not stop there but also provided the people with the best known informative magazine preferred by millions called ‘Al-Arabi’ at a subsidized cost.|
They provided us with the richest country in the world with the highest per capita income and created for us the highest sovereign wealth fund in the world in 1963.
Today we stand to observe the same Kuwait but with deficit of more than KD 35 billion by the end of the year 2021, which is about KD 7 billion per annum. Some top governmental officials managed to obtain high degrees but from unaccredited universities. Some with certificates obtained from unknown sources have been teaching our college students.
As fathers, we wonder what kind of a country we are going to hand over to our grandchildren. Don’t our future generations deserve better? Why can’t we provide them with better hospitals, better education and better work opportunities or at least help them find better employment? Why can’t we encourage them to join the private sector? Why can’t we continue the path of the past in privatizing the government sectors? Let’s just copy our fathers’ roadmap.
The task is not that difficult especially with our small population and with our internal systems and resources. We need to focus and choose our priorities based on the agreed and established guidelines. More importantly, we need to ensure the leader steers towards our goals. Our ancestors used to follow this way when they returned safely to us after their trade activities in India and East Africa. All were proud and jubilant about their achievements after their tiring journeys and time away from their families.
Still, time is on our side. The difficulties that we have to face due to reduction of subsidies and increase in electricity and water costs like the recent increase in gasoline prices must be recognized.
The government also needs to take a firm stance in reducing free touristic medical trips overseas which is costing the state more than KD 600 million especially with the opening of two hospitals soon. It needs to expedite the privatization process.
Even though we are better off compared to our neighboring countries, is this really what we want instead of our goals? We must set examples of the past. This will not satisfy the hope and demand of our fathers and forefathers or our current generation. Certainly, we are after the better and the best, as always.
By Kamel Al-Harami – Independent Oil Analyst