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“WHAT is the fault of those who have never resorted to borrowing under the tough conditions? Is it fair to spend by paying off people’s debts and leaving others without being held accountable for that?”
With these questions, opposers of remedying personal loans justify their position on a social issue that troubles a significant segment of citizens. They base this on the principle of social justice.
Here we ask – God forbid, if a natural disaster strikes an area and its people lose their property, isn’t the state obligated to compensate them? Or will they demand equality for everyone in compensation, not just those affected, and for millionaires to be compensated equally with the needy to achieve the principle of social justice?
What is surprising is that things in Kuwait run on this skewed principle. Raising the prices of commodities, for example, is defended by merchants who consider it their exclusive right, and at the same time, they cheer for the subsidy of commodities because it benefits them.
They refuse to compensate those with low incomes by raising taxes on the rich. On the other hand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, takes from the rich to support the poor. In Bahrain, the government worked to support the needy during the COVID-19 pandemic and dropped loans of a large segment of its citizens.
That is why we always say that more than 120,000 Kuwaitis suffer a lot because of debts, loans and dud cheques which the usurers forced them to issue.
Incidentally, they are not commercial loans from banks. This percentage of citizens constitutes a social crisis that hits the pillars of families and causes a major imbalance in the economic and financial cycle. Prisons are teeming with insolvents.
As this issue continued to preoccupy Kuwait for years, it was resolved by many countries, especially the Gulf states, some of which worked to drop loans from all citizens, while others dropped it from the insolvent.
Other countries managed to put in place legislation and stopped considering issuance of a dud cheque as a criminal offense. They forbade the imprisonment of its issuer, but contented itself with a fine. Some others saw that if it was proven that the creditor requested a cheque from the debtor in bad faith, he would be imprisoned.
Some may ask about preserving rights in this type of financial transaction. The answer is clear and unambiguous, which is what is agreed upon in many countries of the world, that is, if the debtor fails to pay, that is not considered a crime. He can choose to pay based on his priority, and he is not imprisoned. Instead, his loan gets rescheduled in order to enable him to exercise his work and fulfill his duties.
Unfortunately in Kuwait, there are clear legal flaws that make the borrower a suspect, meaning that the creditor assumes bad faith in the debtor and forces him to sign cheques, despite knowing that there is no money in it, to use them at any time he wants, even if the borrower is regular in payment.
Exiting this social predicament is in the hands of the leadership, who can use the legislation of the countries that have solved this problem and lifted the injustice of their citizens without listening to the music of social justice that the greedy exploits to hoard money by exploiting people’s needs.
The solution may be to drop or reschedule, and the state guarantees the benefits, or the debt is considered a civil right, and that the issue of dud cheques is dealt with in a civil manner, and rest is water under the bridge.
In Switzerland, if a person is imprisoned as a result of theft or forgery of a debt, the plaintiff takes care of the expenses of the imprisoned debtor in order not to waste his money, or take advantage of people’s needs for illicit gain of wealth.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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