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Tuesday , September 29 2020

Spending, extravagance, bankruptcy and deficits are knocking on the door

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

IF this year’s deficit will only exceed KD 9 billion, as announced by the former minister of Finance, what will be the case in the coming years?

Kuwait will declare bankruptcy in about ten years, as informed to us by a young colleague Abdul-Wahab Al-Essa. This will agitate the bearers of the theory “Take it easy”.

The deficit or bankruptcy is inevitable if the situation continues in this manner, I mean, the irrational and unjustified spending pattern.

To avoid taking our word for granted, I will present a simple example on our slipshod spending. This time, the hero of spending is Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the ministry that only accommodates the “cleansed” ones among the fanatics, either the Salafists or the “Brotherhood”.

Several times in the past, we have said the concept of being religious, which we learnt since we were children, revolves around integrity, truthfulness and honesty. These characteristics are not exclusive for religious Muslims, but transcend to all religions.

However, the difference between the religious Muslims and religious non-Muslims, such as Christians to be specific, is that, whenever the religious non-Muslims commit mistakes, they pay heavy price for their error and publicly, not as we are used to in terms of covering up. There are many examples in this regard, such as the cases filed against priests charged with sexual abuse of minors and nuns, and so on.

Let us get back to Kuwait, and its powerful Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and its activities in leading the country into the circle of deficit and bankruptcy due to extravagance in spending and without any returns to the society or individuals or the nation.

I was baffled when I came across an announcement of Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs concerning the 2020/2021 fiscal year’s financial plan while I was reading the local newspaper Alyoum daily’s 2,485th edition published on Feb 23. The ministry announced that it intends to request the floatation of 121 tenders and the activities on direct contract only, and that the number of tenders are only 21 while the rest are activities which will be handled directly by the ministry.

When I looked at these tenders and activities, I realized that majority of them are unnecessary and can be executed by the ministry and its personnel. However, our religious ministry believe in the Kuwaiti adage – “Your uncle’s money is none of your business”.

Eventually, when we contemplate on these activities and direct contracts, we will definitely be baffled by them and convinced that such activities were tailored by officials of this ministry in a manner that would benefit those with friends and relatives in the same factions. This explains the magnitude of the number 100 from 121.

Nonetheless, if the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is linked with religion, and religiousness spends in this extravagant manner without any accountability, how is it not possible to envision bankruptcy and deficit knocking on the door?

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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