THE vision is clear now; selling shenanigans about the negative effects of lifting subsidies from limited income earners is no more valid among the limited income earners themselves who became the focus of political and electoral gain invested in the ballot box or wealth increase.
It appears that the exploiters are oblivious of the United Nations report of 2012 which set the poverty line of a family in Kuwait at KD 1000. Statistics have proven the average salary of a breadwinner in a Kuwaiti family is about KD 1,200 and the average salary of a Kuwaiti family as a whole is about KD 1,860.
Therefore, we have no poor people in our country, or rather, we have no Kuwaitis living below the poverty line, and if the limited income earners need a certain kind of support — as we have repeated several times, there are many ways to cater for them without necessarily wasting public funds or putting heavy burden on the national budget.
This class of citizens (limited income earners) being exploited do not have what is classified as luxury houses or palaces surrounded by rich gardens and fleet of vehicles that consumes huge quantities of water and electricity and fuel. They neither have 20 drivers under their sponsorship or several maidservants in their homes.
Instead, there are thousands of Kuwaitis who have been blessed with wealth and still continue to use the ration card. These ones give the supplies they receive to their domestic workers who end up selling the items in the black market. Why the unpalatable fuss and exploitation of the needs of people?
Subsequent to the recent speech of HH the Amir and the directives issued by HH the Prime Minister, the roadmap toward the future became clear in feature and it is for Kuwaitis to deal with the economic situation with a sense of national responsibility. Kuwaitis should also be wary of those who try to upset them with the talk about limited income earners amid plans to turn their sentiments to serve personal interests only.
No other country in the world subsidizes different types of foodstuffs, services and commodities as done in Kuwait. This aspect of subsidy does not consume more than five percent of the national budget — although it looks as if the people of Kuwait live on support, while it is completely different in reality. Alternatively, the government can strive to endorse laws to stimulate private sector and to increase its contribution to the national economy instead of adopting foolish measures like the recent ones that bar women from working in cafés and other restrictions on this or that sector.
Indeed, if the government is serious about streamlining its expenditure and reducing its dependence on the State, it should loosen the grip on laws that stimulate the economic wheel, such as BOT law, and be realistic about the achievements of national companies and their success stories inside and outside the country — evident in their profits recorded on the stock market ranging between 12 and 13 percent, seeing the Kuwaiti investments in foreign countries do not yield up to 6 percent profits even in good days.
The government would have built advanced medical cities through which thousands of international doctors could be invited to treat patients and create medical tourism in the country if it has it in mind to stop squandering of roughly KD 25 billion on the overseas medical treatment program. The government could have invested the sum in earlier period! Until when will the phenomenon of squandering continue to benefit the exploiters at the expense of public funds and gather votes for the MPs?
Since the “Manakh” market crisis in 1982, consecutive governments have failed to set up investment and economic incentives, and the step taken to remedy the crisis rather became a source of animosity, vengeance and conflicts between this and that element. Therefore, the process of remedy later transformed to become a sedative of control serving the interests of some elements without actually striving to shield the country from crises.
Today — subsequent to the acute fall of oil prices and the aftermath of mismanaging the national economy and the political leadership putting the responsibility of the nation before everyone, there is no excuse or justification for any person. The exploitation of limited income earners has become a scratched compact disc (CD)!
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times