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IT was not surprising to see Kuwait drown in an inch of water, and this would not be reprehensible if the incident does not repeat in the coming days and weeks. This is because all treatments are based on reactions, as if rain is falling on Kuwait for the first time and it is not an annual and seasonal phenomenon that we must work on confronting.
Hence, the leaked speech of the Minister of Public Works Amani Bouqmaz is a statement that all ministers repeat. They blame the lower employees, and they hold the maintenance companies responsible, which are stronger than the ministry. In fact, former minister Jenan Boushahri had said this during her parliamentary grilling, and a few days ago, she repeated some of it in the parliament in her capacity as an MP.
Indeed, companies are stronger because there is no one to hold them accountable. In developed countries, companies pay taxes, adhere to specifications, and implement projects under penalty of violation in case they default.
Therefore, if anything goes wrong, the responsibilities are clear, as the ministers are dismissed and some of them are even brought to trial. On the other hand, in Kuwait, the statements of officials, ministers and undersecretaries remain mere palliatives, and thus the days pass without accountability.
In addition to this, the conflict of powers impedes work; in some cases, the Ministry of Public Works casts the responsibility on to the municipality, which in turn disavows such responsibilities.
Incidentally, this conflict does not stop at the borders of any ministry, but almost includes the majority of state institutions. That is why problems abound.
In other countries, each institution exercises its role without any conflict with the other, and coordinates with each other in the affairs it shares.
Many executives forget that investing in infrastructure is not a waste of money, as it is one of the state’s sources of income.
Therefore, there are many governments that borrow in order to modernize and invest in them. Dubai, which has at times borrowed to develop its infrastructure and service system, is a good example, as it has become a supplementary source of income for the state, generating great returns for the UAE as a whole.
Kuwait’s main misfortune is the monopoly on implementation of projects, cheating, and lack of monitoring and follow-up. For decades, the roads have been suffering from poor maintenance. The rain drainage system is almost out of service. And other services are built on the basis of “your uncle’s money is not yours.”
This is why sand buries the outer roads, while the internal roads seem as if they are in a country that does not have the slightest capabilities and is poor.
Real development begins with the conscience of a responsible person. That is why the assurances of the Ministry of Public Works’ officials few months ago about the maintenance of the rainwater drainage networks went down with the first “dive”
This means one thing, which is that officials’ statements and pledges are intended for political consumption and nothing more.
Therefore, cutting corruption will only happen when the negligent are held accountable. They manipulate people’s fates by putting them in murky waters, oppressing them, and causing their loss, which is the worst thing any country can face.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times