MR. Minister, why do you want to scare us and ruin our financial reputation globally? You know that Kuwait has more than $550 billion invested overseas with a minimum return of not less than six percent annually.
So why are there headlines and announcements about this in all our daily papers and in front of the Parliament respectively?
What is the purpose behind such bad publicity? Is it aimed to put pressure on the MPs to approve your borrowing plans?
There is no doubt that our daily cash income suddenly dropped by more than 50 percent in March this year, but the same thing happened to all oil producing countries, not only Kuwait.
The shortage and deficits in cash fl ow of all oil producing countries have fallen since COVID-19 crisis, with oil prices hitting the level of $15 per barrel, and Kuwait crude oil being sold at below $ 10 per barrel, like the rest of OPEC-plus member states.
This shortage in cash fl ow is common and public knowledge. However, none of them have declared openly that they will run out of cash and will not be able to pay government salaries after some months. All Gulf countries are facing the same acute shortage of cash including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. In addition, Algeria, Nigeria and Venezuela among other oil producing countries are facing the same situation.
Most of them can hardly reach loan agreements with financial institutions and are facing extreme conditions. However, none of them claimed bankruptcy and various bad publicity moves.
So why are we in Kuwait facing all sorts of bad publicity and embarrassments? Yes, our daily income of oil is now about $90 million per day at $45 a barrel and oil production rate of two million barrels. This means an annual income of about $36 billion translated into KD 3 billion by the end of March of 2021; while our budget is at KD 20 billion, which is a total shortage of KD 17 billion – the amount that is at stake.
However, why is the alarm being raised now especially since Kuwait’s income has been declining since 2014, and the deficits have been increasing year after year?
Why didn’t our government take any constructive actions? Why didn’t it control or manage its expenditures? Why is it simply threatening us for no reason? Why is it scaring all of us at once and ruining our financial reputation? If the government cannot reach a compromise with the Parliament, why is it misusing the daily headlines and opting for bad publicity?
The solutions for strong government reforms start with fighting corruption, which however does not seem forthcoming. Dear Minister of Finance, why did you agree for an annual budget of KD 20 billion or more when you knew well that the oil prices will not be able to cover it or the price of a barrel of oil will not reach $80 a barrel in the coming years to balance our budget? You have enough resources and tools to finance and maintain the payment of salaries every month on time for many years to come. Threatening and scaring us will not work.
We have enough money both internally and externally. Mr. Minister, pass your threats to the Parliament and keep us out. We will certainly receive our monthly salaries on time every time. Kuwait has huge fiscal resources, incomes and reserves – and you know it.