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Beware of making same mistake twice

Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

IT is unfortunate that the issue currently being raised about the public debt law and other legislative packages pertaining to the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy and its repercussions on the global economic downturn is contradictory and clearly lacks experienced scientific approach.

This means we did not learn any lessons from the past in terms of the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash, the 1977 crisis prior to that, and the aftermath of the global economic crisis in 2008.

It seems as if Kuwait is devoid of experts and specialists in this regard, given that some are devoted to defending views of certain political factions and wave that reject solutions to any problem in order to continue investing in it politically.

In all the twists and turns that Kuwait has faced so far, the National Assembly had the loudest voice. We all know how interests are distributed in the National Assembly; consequently, the laws that were passed were not in the interest of the national economy, including the law related to debt in regard to the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash, which is still present in the minds of people.

In fact, there are about KD 7 billion debts that turned bad because of that law. If only the legislative authority had worked according to the experts’ opinion and sought a correct solution, it would have spared the State a lot of money, and that debt would not continue to this day.

In such situation, everyone has become financial and economic experts – from janitor in the National Assembly to the MPs – and none of them turn to experts in this regard. This complicates the issue.

In today’s crisis, most of the countries of the world have put in place financial incentives to prevent the collapse of their economy but we hear a band coming out to play to us a cacophony of symphonies.

We are today facing a major problem that requires prudence in solutions, without yielding to contradictions and opinions launched for the sake of wrangles and nothing else, or any attempts to tickle the emotions of the voters with unfounded tales. The truth is that these people are only seeking to maintain their political base by all means necessary.

In the past, when the governors of the Central Bank of Kuwait were asked about a solution, their response was, “We have spoken honestly and have put the solution in place. The matter remains in the hands of the government as the executive authority.”

This was also subjected to parliamentary intimidation, so the government approves what the influential people in the Parliament want and not what is necessary for the higher national interest.

However, when things turn south, the MPs turn their backs and say, “Why did the government bow to us, and leave it to take full responsibility?”

Therefore, what the Governor of the Central Bank said few days ago – that we are facing a major problem and it will exacerbate if we delay the solution – is true. The government must persist on passing the law, even if it leads to the dissolution of the National Assembly. This is necessary so that Kuwait does not make the same mistake twice.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times


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