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Thursday , April 22 2021

Need men with muscles in their arms, not their bellies

THE downgrade of Kuwait’s credit rating, disruption of the state’s ability to manage cash flows, rising forward contracts for the Kuwaiti dinar against the dollar by about 300 points, and a drop in the prices of Kuwait’s bonds due in 2022 by about one percent … All of these are negative indicators and a crime against the nation because of the government’s failure to pass the public debt law.

His Highness the Prime Minister and every person concerned with the issue of Kuwait, above text above is a “tweet” by Dr. Hamad Al-Marzouq, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of a Kuwaiti bank in which the state owns 50 percent of its shares. The content of the post is an indicator of danger due to which rapid action is required to avoid the deep crisis that awaits the country.

We hope that when such a crisis hits, the government’s arguments will not be “the National Assembly did not approve the public debt law” as this law would have allowed the state to borrow KD 20 billion that would have contributed to salvaging the country out of the crisis.

The credit ratings of major relevant global institutions are still negatively hit. In case of any financial setback, the public will not have mercy on the officials who caused it.

This matter should serve as a great motivation for every person with the capacity to take his responsibility seriously, and end the bickering between the resigned government and the parliament, which chose to suspend its work until its absurd conditions are met.

In all countries with sovereign issues, responsible stakeholders realize that there is no such thing as waiting for the stance of the parliament, especially in a country like Kuwait where the parliamentary practice has become like a kid’s game and represents a blatant extortion and reconciliation at the expense of the nation and the people. It is as if we are in a banana republic, lacking the simplest elements of political prudence in order to protect and work towards preserving the rights of its people and generations.

We beg to ask – Did you wait for the parliament to take defensive measures when Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded the country? Even before that, in 1961, did you wait for the parliament’s decision when Abdul Kareem Qasim attempted to abort the country’s independence with the intention to invade it, or did the concerned authority take sovereign measures?

Isn’t it a fact that the current financial crisis is threatening the economic and financial fate of the country, which prompted experts and several institutions to suggest lowering the exchange rate of the dinar, while everyone, even the non-experts, knows that any reduction means an endless decline in the exchange rate? Are you aware of that?

We will not repeat what we said on previous occasions about the cultural and social decline caused by the misconception of democracy, and how Kuwait has retrogressed at all levels.

Our country has become the thinker, while the neighboring countries implement our ideas, which are being killed by a distorted democracy. It is all aimed at the quotas system in almost everything, starting from the economy down to the positions and jobs.

Was it not the National Assembly that suspended projects in the northern oil fields because a group of influential people did not benefit from them? Because of that, didn’t Kuwait lose $100 billion, as well as 20,000 jobs for citizens?

Didn’t the decisions of the National Assembly and the government tremble when one of the MPs threatened that the Dow Chemical project would only pass over his dead body such that the state’s withdrawal from it led to loss of about KD 3 billion? They are also the ones who made efforts to prevent the start of the implementation of the northern economic zone project. If they have started implementing it, would it have been a major historical paradigm shift for Kuwait?

This stabbing, constant attrition, and tampering is not democracy, but rather a systematic demolition of the state by flooding it with crises to the point of suffocation. So will the concerned authorities remain on the sidewalk waiting until the flood comes and sweeps everyone away?

Kuwait processes huge capital … if it is managed well, it can compensate for its losses, and even turn to profitability. In the sovereign fund, there are about $ 600 billion, in addition to more than a hundred billion barrels in the ground, which are large reserves. However, what is needed is awareness and prudence in an administration that knows how and when to take decisions firmly and not through deals between a weak government and a parliament that bullies it.

This determination must be present with the one who leads the executive authority in order to develop solutions. By the way, it is easy and simpler than some fancy notions. In the constitution, there is a possibility to suspend the parliament for a period of time, in addition to decrees of necessity. Perhaps the earlier mentioned tweet by a prominent banker represents a warning bell that requires immediate action, and realizing the risks that the man spoke frankly about.

Waiting for the National Assembly’s decision and approval will not be easy. The MPs invest in what serves their own interests. They will not pay any attention to the national interest. The fate of the country shouldn’t depend on the mood swings of the corrupt, hence the need to allow the intellectuals and reformers to take the center stage.

What we urgently need is men who possess the mentality to serve the nation and not their pockets … their muscles are in their arms, not in their bellies. Otherwise it will not help to cry tomorrow over the ruins of a distorted and fragmented democracy that has damaged more than it built.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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