BEWARE! The oil is an inflammable substance. Do not come close to it with the fire of your conflicts — political or personal — lest you set ablaze the entire nation.
Keep off. We ask you to stay away and stop throwing your weight behind a senior employee of the oil sector in his conflict with his minister because your selfish interests can reduce the nation to ashes. Do not do this for the sake of an MP, current or former, who uses the oil as a commodity for his financial and electoral gains.
Stop toying with this sector — the sector that is the economic vein of the country, the sector which brings 90 percent of the revenue for the nation. What will you do if the country loses this wealth because of your narrow interests?
For years, this strategic sector has been facing obstacles of all kinds. At some point it was a victim of promotions, followed by the allowances dispute and then favoritism in the area of employment.
In the midst of all this, the infrastructure continued to deteriorate. The disputes put renovation of this sector on the backburner and the projects which would have benefitted the nation suffered because of interference from certain quarters or because these projects became a bargaining chip between influential people, as a result of which the country incurred heavy losses.
When a minister transfers any official to another sector, he is reinstated by the Council of Minister or due to interference from a contractor or an MP, is this healthy practice? Why don’t we give the bakery to the baker?
We ask all those who are interfering in the affairs of this vital sector, ‘How many of you are oil experts? What do you know about this industry? Is employment in this sector exclusive for those who are close to you? What have you done to those who have intentionally incurred heavy losses for the State without blinking an eyelid?
We have had enough of you and your scandal at the heavy oil burning unit. Why don’t we see enthusiasm when it comes to appointments and transfers made in the best interest of the oil sector and the nation for the benefit of thousands of people?
Doesn’t the Supreme Petroleum Council have the last say in any issue concerning oil? Doesn’t monitoring, supervision and advising fall within the rights of the minister and the Cabinet? Did the Council practice its role, or did it together with others, fall into the sphere of influence of political and personal interests, which prevent it from moving and taking decisive actions?
Dawdling with the oil sector has to stop because it amounts to toying with the destiny of Kuwait and the wealth of its people which is pushed to the brink of financial deficit due to deterioration in oil prices.
It is unfortunate, because of the market trend it appears the price of the barrel of oil will never recover at least not in the foreseeable future. We are unable, as a State and establishments, to find economic alternatives that can protect our country from exhausting future generations fund which is being consumed by laws that direct these funds to cater for electoral interests and fill the pockets of the opportunists.
We have to admit, that what we currently see in the oil sector emits the stench of a huge calamity, hence, it is imperative for decisive measures to be taken in order to put a stop to conflicts and to stop deterioration of the most important national industry.
However, this can only be achieved through the establishment of a pure neutral professional and technical council governed by tough laws, and of course, necessarily distancing this sector from political and electoral involvement.
If we fail the country will continue to suffer and the sparks of greed which come flying from all directions will set the nation ablaze. Should this happen regret will not benefit anyone.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times