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A lame duck government and ‘general pardon parliament’

WE are not against destiny, but we ask the Almighty to be gentle on us. This is the prayer that every Kuwaiti should be praying after witnessing the events of the parliamentary session that was held the day before yesterday.

In the aforementioned session, the Minister of Health, without mincing his words, had announced that the COVID-19 is here to stay until the end of time, something that raised everyone’s concern.

Despite the emphasis on immunization through vaccination, people will still have to coexist with this deadly virus. This sparks panic among the public especially among those who are still waiting for a glimmer of hope from the chilled executive authority which apparently is not in any hurry to address the country’s crises.

On the other hand, there is a legislative authority that is living on another planet. It does not care about anything other than insisting on pardoning a group of people who are fleeing justice, despite the fact that these people are not more than the fingers of a hand. However, the parliament has resorted to pursue their pardon at the expense of the fate of this country.

This is a clear indication of the lack of responsibility of the two authorities, which are supposed to be most concerned with the interest of the country and its people, and ensuring the continuity of the state, instead of weakening it in such an abominable manner.

Indeed, we are not against destiny, but in the face of a pandemic of this kind, all the governments of the world have worked towards putting in place necessary measures that protect their people and their economy, and ensure its sustainability.

In this regard, what did the Kuwaiti government do? Did it cushion its people, or provide anything that would secure for them a minimum level of social and economic security?

If we take into consideration the words of the Minister of Health, the abnormal situation will become normal in the lives of the people of this country, who are currently in a sea of heavy waves, flooding them with more crises. The small and medium enterprises that everyone praises for their protection, incurred great losses. The thousands of dinars that the government will spend for assistance will not be of any benefit.

As for the major projects, there is nothing to comment about. They have sustained huge losses during the past year, and the situation will continue to worsen as long as ineffective remedy continues to be applied, especially in terms of improvised decisions that are issued as if the government is just a diwaniya and not an executive authority.

At the beginning of the crisis, the government announced a stimulus plan, but unfortunately we discovered that it was a paralyzing plan, and led to bankruptcy of many entrepreneurs.

The only good step taken in this regard was to postpone the payment of loans for six months. However, as soon as that grace period elapsed, the banks started the collection process. For those who couldn’t pay, they invoked bankruptcy law to avoid being in the pile of judicial litigations.

Does the National Assembly and the government realize the negative impact that they have caused to the country and the people?

We have said it repeatedly and we continue saying it – The countries of the world, with the Gulf countries at the forefront, developed a support plan for their people and the economy, and strengthened their sovereign funds at the same time, such that the crisis turned into an opportunity.

Hence, these countries worked to guarantee loans, and they increased the borrowing ceiling in long-term foreign currencies with low interest. They bought shares in the technology and pharmaceutical companies that improved during the pandemic, and strengthened their international real estate portfolio.

However, in Kuwait, the government and the Central Bank asked the barefooted ones with stones and pebbles causing the bare foot to bleed.

It is common knowledge all over the world regarding sovereign issues. The matter is for the executive authority and the leadership to set measures to confront any disaster – natural, health, security or political. Everyone must abide by these measures, which are immune from rejection by the parliament.

In France, the measures that were taken in this regard were fortified by the government and later by the parliament, but in Kuwait, the executive authority avoids confrontation and throws responsibility to the parliament, which in turn throws it back to it.

The public will not question the parliament but the government, because that is the latter’s responsibility, thus, the leadership will be accused of negligence.

The government must have the experts and economic minds to plan, not only for a pandemic or disaster, but for the next thirty years.

Indeed, there are parliaments that get dissolved if they do not conform to the decisions of the executive authority when it comes to a sensitive issue. Unfortunately in Kuwait, the parliament is dissolved to avoid interpellation of a minister. For such fateful issues, procrastination almost renders the country into dark alleys, as each party casts the blame on the other.

The government is currently a lame duck … it is for the disposal of urgent matters. It does not seem that His Highness the Prime Minister is in a hurry to announce an actual government. As per the use of the term in the British Stock Exchange, the lame duck means many things. So will the government and the Parliament push Kuwaitis and the country to live in a cycle of crises when the solutions are clear and simple?

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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