Experts advise Kuwait’s new government on economic revamp

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KUWAIT CITY, April 16: A consensus among economists highlighted several significant and formidable challenges facing the new government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Al-Abdullah, reports Al-Qabas daily. Foremost among these challenges is the imperative to overhaul the ministerial selection process, particularly for economic portfolios.

The appointed ministers must possess visionary and innovative ideas to steer Kuwait away from its reliance on oil revenues towards a diversified economic system that ensures financial and economic sustainability. Kuwait has lagged behind neighboring countries in taking decisive steps towards economic diversification. While others have made strides in tourism, trade, and industry, Kuwait has been slow to follow suit. Economists emphasize the importance of ministers having a clear vision for Kuwait’s economic future and maximizing the role of the private sector in economic development. They advocate for the enactment of laws that incentivize attracting foreign investors.

Former Vice-Chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry Fahd Al-Jouan, underscored the need for ministers with a background in the private sector and a strategic vision for implementation. He criticized the hasty formulation of laws without input from economic experts, leading to adverse outcomes. The decline in the private sector’s role in recent years is alarming, prompting concerns about Kuwait becoming unattractive for private investment. Economic expert Ali Al-Rashid Al-Badr emphasized the necessity of diversifying income sources away from oil, focusing on meaningful economic development rather than superficial projects.

Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Yousef Al-Ali emphasized the urgency of improving citizens’ quality of life, alongside economic diversification. He points out the lack of concrete economic alternatives despite decades of discussion. Mishari Al-Abduljalil, Chairman of the Kuwait Economic Society, stressed the importance of a long-term economic reform program with clear objectives and consistent implementation, regardless of changes in government. He highlights challenges such as excessive current expenditures, overreliance on oil revenue, and unemployment.

Dr. Nawaf Al-Abduljader, a professor at Kuwait University, identified challenges such as job overcrowding in the public sector and the need for new job opportunities. He underscores the importance of a clear vision and coordination between ministries for effective implementation of economic plans. Economists agreed on the necessity of economic diversification, budget reform, and encouraging private sector growth. They also emphasized the importance of addressing populist demands with fiscal prudence and tackling administrative inflation in the state apparatus. The criteria for selecting ministers in economic portfolios should prioritize expertise in the private sector, innovative economic visions, effective communication skills, and a focus on long-term national interests. These criteria aim to ensure that ministers prioritize Kuwait’s economic future and implement sustainable economic policies.

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