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Tuesday , August 16 2022

Ministry fails to capitalize on cafes in country as ‘vital’ income source

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Call for measures to develop, protect heritage

KUWAIT CITY, June 23: The state, represented by the Ministry of Social Affairs and other relevant authorities, failed to utilize the popular cafes in an optimal way that would create a strong financial source for the State Treasury, particularly the ministry, reports Aljarida daily. Although Article 6 of the Decree No. 50/2017 delegates to the Ministry of Social Affairs the role of oversight of cafes, and grants it administrative and organizational authority, this authority can be deemed as inadequate and inefficient to achieve the desired goal, and ensure the use of mechanisms and volume of work within it. It is not performing its recognized role since its inception, which include providing traditional drinks such as tea and coffee, organizing simple folk games, and providing delicious and popular food items and others, in addition to providing modern services such as Wi-fiand modern games. This ineffective and inadequate oversight has led the ministry to lose control over the cafés in financial and administrative aspects, especially in light of not being included in the organizational structure of the ministry.

A cafe in Jahra

This created a kind of imbalance, making them outside the civil service system, not covered by the state’s oversight bodies such as the accounting and civil service bureaus, and the financial auditors. It thus poses a threat to its future, and makes it vulnerable to manipulation and profiteering, especially since there is a social fund for cafes, which the ministry must maintain to ensure its revenues are increased and not lost. Among the most prominent of these cafés are Qibla, the Popular Café in Sharq, Salmiya, Abu Halifa, Sulaibikhat, Youm Al-Bahar, and Suleiman Al- Shammari,all of which are in vital geographical locations of great importance.

However, the state, represented by the Ministry of Social Affairs and other relevant authorities, failed to capitalize on them in a manner that may represent it in the future as an important source that develops its revenues against its expenses and compensates, even a small part, the millions it gives monthly to the groups benefiting from its services. On the contrary, it has been neglected without strict control that guarantees tightening of financial control over its revenues and expenses, in the absence of prior or subsequent control over its contracts, and the absence of an administrative documentary cycle regulating its work. In addition to the above, cafes suffer from the absence of statistics on their operating rates, fixed data for maintenance and cleaning contracts, monthly rent collection notices for the investment shops, or investment notices, in addition to the absence of archival statistics for public administration, employees, sites and investments, as well as ministerial and administrative decisions and council records, minutes, correspondence and official memos.

In order to preserve what remains of the history of coffee shops, which enjoy a privileged position within the conscience of the public, and to stop their decline further, there are urgent measures that the Minister of Social Affairs must take immediately, represented in the necessity of including them in the organizational structure of the ministry, and appending them to any of its sectors, for example financial, administrative or social development sector, as well as the need to rehabilitate them financially, administratively and professionally.

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