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FINALLY the government resigned recently, despite all the fortifications that its Prime Minister tried to use in order to avoid interpellations. On the other hand, his ministers had engaged in many maneuvers to get rid of the burden of accountability, but with all that being done, nothing changed during the last parliamentary term.
In fact, the achievements of the two authorities combined were minimal. This had further frustrated the people of this country particularly due to the opportunities that were available throughout that period.
With the utmost respect and appreciation for His Highness the Prime Minister whose integrity is acknowledged by many, truth be said, he wasn’t up to the challenge.
He did not perform in the required manner in either tackling the economic and financial crisis or facing the consequences of the pandemic, or even in working on the relationship with the National Assembly. Therefore, the losses recorded during his reign far exceeded the losses incurred by Kuwait in the past two decades.
These losses were evident from Kuwait’s credit rating, which recorded two remarkable declines within a short period of time, and the decline in the sovereign wealth, as well as the state budget, which witnessed the largest deficit in its history, amounting to more than KD ten billion. This is a precedent that calls for serious search for the one who bears the responsibility for it, and the responsibility for the remedying plan that was stillborn.
Perhaps someone will say that this is because of the drop in oil prices, or as His Highness the Prime Minister always claims, “The National Assembly was responsible for delaying the draft laws, which prevented us from getting out of the crisis …” when the truth is completely different.
Kuwait was not the only country that was affected by the drop in oil prices. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and even Bahrain suffered setbacks. However, they developed their plans to confront it, and strengthened their sovereign funds by exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to buy more assets and support the sovereign credit rating.
In this regard, the national, advisory and parliamentary councils in those countries did not prevent governmental actions, but rather supported them. This is because the executive authority worked hard and rationally to address the causes, pumped more money into the local markets, and turned the pandemic into an opportunity to support their private sectors.
On the other hand, in Kuwait, the Cabinet further complicated the situation with its complex stimulus package that benefited neither the owners of small and medium enterprises, most of whom are currently facing lawsuits, nor the private sector, which began to devour itself.
Without turning to the parliament, the government spent more than KD 1 billion by direct orders, and incurred a loss of $17 billion.
There is no doubt that this bleak picture raises concern among most of the Kuwaitis who believe no solution is possible with a Cabinet like the one that recently resigned. Instead, the solution is to have a new prime minister and a specialized ministerial staff, each with full realization of the extent of his or her national responsibility to work towards pulling Kuwait out of the crisis. We do not say that it should race with its Gulf neighbors, even though this has become a dream for all citizens.
Indeed, we say frankly – Kuwait needs a Prime Minister with clouts. He should be someone who is aware of what is required of him with regard to the economy in the first place. He must then choose his ministerial team without relying on the employees of the General Secretariat of the Cabinet, or submitting to “favors” or parliamentary “wastas”, or leaving matters in the hands of coincidences and settlements.
Kuwait urgently needs to get out of this crisis. It does not have the luxury of waiting for the approval of this or that MP… time does not wait for anyone. Countries are not built on deals and emotions, but with well-thought-out decisions based on facts.
In all of this, we continue to hope that those who have the power will appoint a prime minister, who understands his job and scrambles to win, and specialized ministers. This is what Kuwait hopes to have as a title for its next stage.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times