“BRING a handful of moondust, a selfie with Tariq bin Ziyad, and a strand of hair from a blonde woman’s head … and you will immediately receive the required loan.”
When the government announced its economic stimulus plan, Kuwaitis rejoiced. They believed there was a realistic vision to address the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the economic front, and that soft loans would cushion its impact, which would thus prevent the national economy from shrinking.
However, the Kuwaiti expectations unfortunately did not coincide with the accounts of the Central Bank of Kuwait and other banks because the conditions set for obtaining loans require a caesarean section that is not guaranteed to deliver. The entire issue turned into a government media review without achieving anything until date, leaving the entire stimulus plan to be a matter of a PR stunt that will not launch.
No one has received any amount that will enable them to face the huge losses caused by the closure of the country.
There is no doubt that the money that will be paid will return to the normal financial cycle in the country. The Central Bank of Kuwait will pump it to the banks, which in turn will loan it to the borrowers who will spend it locally. This means it will eventually return to the Central Bank, this is if we simplify the entire matter.
Unfortunately, with each new day, the percentage of non-performing investors rises. Therefore, whatever will be revealed in the coming days is nothing more than a picture of the significant destruction in local projects and investments, and a decline in domestic product.
In short, this means a huge impact on Kuwait’s financial reputation internationally, and the possibility of a decline in its classification with international financial institutions.
We beg to ask – Is this what the government seeks?
Here is a look into the requirements and conditions set by the government and the Central Bank for stimulus loans to enable the borrowers to receive them.
These requirements include – a feather from the tail of an ostrich lost in the Amazon jungle, Hitler’s death certificate stamped by Berlin municipality with Akhenaten’s signature, original copy of Ibn Battuta’s passport that shows the countries he visited, a molar of a hyena that is suffering from diabetes and shortsightedness, and 500 grams of moondust collected during the dawn of a very hot summer day.
Also, the mobile phone number of Pharaoh Ramses III and the phone number of his office manager, a recent copy of Cleopatra’s wedding certificate, a copy of Romeo and Juliet’s marriage contract signed by an authorized person who died 20 years ago, a selfie with Tariq bin Ziyad and the burned ships behind him, and another photo of the time when he conquered Spain.
In addition to that, the borrower must provide a hair from a blonde woman’s head after she did her hair in one of the latest beauty salons.
After the borrower manages to collect all this, he needs to go to the nearest sorcerer to be certified, and then present everything to the relevant authorities.
Such impracticable requirements for stimulus loans contradict all the plans of the countries that pumped money into their economy and provided instant soft loans to investors. Their actions were devoid of all the impossible conditions that have been set in Kuwait where the money is still trapped in the mentality of skepticism and obstruction, and subject to the game of personal accounts and electoral gains.
This was followed by the ministers and officials coming out to brag that the crisis did not affect the public funds, while the investors who applied for loans had either declared bankruptcy, or whose businesses collapsed, due to which they need more money for their businesses to return to normalcy; but the sword of prosecution is being brandished on them.
In this regard, we suggest the people in charge of this matter to study the actions of the whole world – from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to Russia, Japan, China, the United States of America, France, Britain, even the African countries, and those with less income than Kuwait – and how have they dealt with the crisis and helped the private sector.
Indeed, some of those countries even paid salaries to their people, but here we are still interested in trying to discover hot water.
There is a judicial principle which states – “It is better and more satisfactory to acquit 100 guilty individuals than put a single innocent one to death.” However in Kuwait, the government and its financial institutions concerned with the stimulus plan have worked in contrary to this principle. They arrest thousands of innocent people, and prosecute them for the failures of those in charge of the economy in the country.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times