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Friday , January 24 2020

O Your Highness … We want a better Kuwait

Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

COUNTRIES develop through two aspects — a leadership with the ability to take vital decisions on improving establishments or the national dignitaries characterized with transparency and devotion to national service.

Because of these aspects, the development levels we witnessed in countries were achieved by giving preference to public interest over individual interest. These countries’ parliaments enacted laws which facilitated investments, industry, agricultural development, medicine and education, such that they became a complete productive system.

In our country, we transformed ministries and official establishments into decks for sheltering unemployment, whereas the legislative podiums became platforms for personal gains and exploitation of influence.

Your Highness of this nation, it is unfortunate that the legislative and executive authorities lack long-term vision for the country to avoid the crises it has been suffering from. Therefore, the proposal we get to resolve issues are either shallow but saturated with titles, or spontaneous which indicates ignorance and lack of awareness of laws as the one in charge of enacting and enforcing them should have read them. This is why some talk eloquently about the problems and challenges that the country is facing as well as the causes, but they do not comprehend the situation nor possess anything related to the solution.

Some days back, a parliamentary committee proposed 20 percent reduction of expenditures in ministries. Interestingly, the government promised to study the proposal and this means both parties failed to realize that such a proposal will cripple the entire country. This is because the legislators who voted on the annual State budget know very well that 70 percent of the budget is allocated for salaries.

This type of proposal is presented to the Parliament for discussion, whereas the ministers and members of Parliament do not trouble themselves with looking into the package of laws ratified by the previous legislatures — laws which prompted the citizens to prefer working in the government sector rather than the private sector.

The government and Parliament have mastered the art of destroying the private sector by setting up obstacles; whereas the proper formula in developed countries is to improve and promote the sector by offering financial, economic and investment incentives to make it easy for anyone to contribute to the growth of the national economy.

How can a company operate when it is restricted by the ‘handcuff’ of the National Manpower Financial Aid Law which transferred ‘voluntary unemployment’ from the ministries to the private sector? The law imposed on the sector a certain percentage of employees who receive their salaries while they are sleeping in their homes.

This sector, which is exposed to premeditated destruction, is also needed to develop the national economy — an equation that economic geniuses and philosophers cannot solve. For instance, the BOT projects were suspended after the issuance of the unstudied law No. 7/2008. It was full of obstacles and long measures with regard to new projects, let alone the exaggerated protection of State properties; thereby, increasing the percentage of risk for this type of project.

This is a blow on investments caused by those who describe themselves as ‘protectors of the Constitution and public funds’ and made other people think that anyone who proposes a project is either corrupt or a thief.

Because of this, investors decided to take their investments to other countries where red carpets are spread for them and welcome them with open arms, while Kuwait has been transformed into a capital-repelling environment since 2009.

 Your Highness, the Guardian of this nation, there are several models that are beneficial and worth emulating in the region. We have the Emirate of Dubai which transformed its economy into a productive one, encompassing the ability of its people on one hand, and on the other hand, attracting capitals that prompted many media companies and international commercial trademarks to move to Dubai. Therefore, Dubai became a new modern economic model which the world follows. What has happened here in Kuwait?

When HH the late Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah said the entire Kuwait is a free trade zone, everyone expected it to materialize, especially when some parts of Shuwaikh were declared free trade zones. Unfortunately, the zone became a source of dispute between the government and private sectors within a very short period of time. This happened because of laws enacted based on the evil intentions of MPs and the same applies to the Northern Oil Field projects which were crushed, instead of the country benefitting from them by saving $100 billion public funds since 2005 when the project was proposed. It would have employed about 20,000 Kuwaitis but everything evaporated the way the infamous Dow Chemical deal vanished.

Add to this the Offset Project which is being used by 125 countries, helps in developing national skills and enhances the role of the private sector. However, after 23 years of its endorsement, we saw how the government in one session announced its liquidation and then freezing it completely in August last year. This made the country lose another window of development, as if the objective is to close development doors and windows because someone is bothered by the breeze of investment and advancement.

Frankly, we say it with pain oh, Your Highness, our official establishments are stagnant and idle. This is manifested in many projects overseen by the executive body like the Al-Shadadiya University which will enter the fourth decade but it is yet to be accomplished.

On the other hand, the Amiri Diwan took decisive steps towards the accomplishment of a lot of projects within a short span of time. These projects have become landmarks and are considered the standard in terms of other State projects.

Unanimously, Kuwaitis agreed on your achievements during your era, regarded as the light in this long journey. As we mentioned earlier, countries develop through the ingenuity of the vision of their leaders. Since one hand cannot clap, there must be cooperation from the other hand so that the desired image is completed. This is why Kuwait is in need of an Amiri decree, similar to the one-man, one-vote decree, to serve as a guideline for work in the next three decades in the sense that all government bodies will know what they are supposed to do in the path towards national development.

Oh Your Highness, our country and its people are beautiful. They have aspirations and the spirit to take initiatives but there is a strange culture that invaded this community due to more openness in democracy which some opportunists understood as the culture of evilness, defaming others and ‘inspecting’ people’s intentions. We have to be protected from this strange culture.

In the past, we were better people in terms of cooperation and creativity. Today, we have become the most jealous and suspicious people. In the past, we used to surprise the world with our achievements until it was said that “Kuwait thinks and we execute.”

Your Highness, rescue us from what we are going through by issuing a special and historic decree that will save our industry, investment and real estate sectors, let alone restructure our national economy. We need a decree which will reassure the hearts of Kuwaitis that what is coming is better and beautiful.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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