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Chinese prescription to save Kuwait’s economy

MOST of the countries in the world have been forming economic and social committees or councils since decades. The objective of such councils has been to prepare and implement plans, and offer advice to governments and leaders. They are directly affiliated with either the head of a republic or monarchy.

 Such councils exist in France, Britain, the Netherlands, China and Italy, as well as in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, some Gulf countries, and many other countries. Their members are chosen from the elite economy and sociology experts, who develop visions for solving problems, and plans to develop the economies of their countries.

These councils, despite the great minds they contain, sometimes seek the help of experts from outside, as in the case with the Chinese President Deng Xiaoping who is considered the spiritual father of modern renaissance in China.

In 1978 upon assuming the presidency, Xiaoping asked the Central Committee of the Communist Party to agree to contracting with an administrative development expert and a global economist to develop and advance the deteriorating economy of his country.

At that time, his request was rejected seven times, but he remained persistent until it was approved after he convinced the ruling party’s committee of his idea.

He personally addressed Oxford University in England about his country’s desire to hire a professor specialized in economic and administrative development to work with the Chinese government as the first counselor.

The job landed on an Iraqi-born strategic expert Prof. Elias Korkis. At the time, the President of the Republic of China ordered the government ministers to implement what the expert asked of them. His first ideas were the necessity of a gradual transition to a market economy, opening the door to foreign investment especially in the field of industry, and training ministers in management and leadership skills.

In the Gulf region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, like China, is currently working under the guidance of the Economic and Social Council chaired by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Therefore, we hear of mega projects being announced successively.

Unfortunately in Kuwait, all we see are major slogans placed on projects, which then vanish amid bickerings between the government and the parliament due to lack of realistic vision based on scientific thinking.

The prevailing thought in our country is related to the mentality of managing a grocery store and not an economy facing major challenges, which causes backwardness and leads to exacerbation of the structural crises that Kuwait suffers from.

While the economies of neighboring countries, which are similar to us in terms of relying on oil as the strategic commodity for national income, have made great strides in the actual diversification of sources of income, we are still drowning in illusions of accusations and maliciousness, and political and electoral conciliation.

For this reason, multiple bodies were created, just for the benefit of increasing the rate of underemployment, while its productivity is zero.

The reason for this problem is the government’s submission to the MPs and their populist demands that serve their interests. The MPs bear no responsibility for it, because if it fails, they will blame the executive authority, which also lacks the correct media tools to defend itself.

To get out of this tunnel, Kuwait needs an economic council that directly follows the political leadership, and has powers similar to those in force in most countries of the world. The government must work towards finding a media that would market its ideas and adopt its views, and avoid remaining susceptible to the parliamentary pressure that puts more burdens on it than it can bear.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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