CURRENTLY, the people of this nation are living on hope, while the government continues to cultivate in the souls a mirage of silence by devoting itself to its battle with the National Assembly, which in turn lacks awareness of the parliamentary hallucinations far from the concerns of the people.
Therefore, we only have His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince to appeal to end the people’s suffering, which has been further complicated by short-sighted government actions.
First of all, we are not asking the political leadership to repay the loans of traders, large companies, banks or family businesses including the debts of Ahmed Al-Jarallah, Al-Kharafi, Al-Shaya, Al-Ghanim, and others. We instead ask it to help the owners of small enterprises and the debtors who were negatively affected by the crisis of the long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which protected people from widespread COVID-19 infection – or so the Minister of Health assumes – but instead spread among them infections of bankruptcy and need such that they did not find a savior to rescue them from the situation they are in.
It would perhaps be useful to highlight, as an example, the suffering of a retired Kuwaiti who obtained rights to open in Kuwait a franchise of a famous German restaurant and spent his life savings, but the project faltered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the long closure of the country, and he ended up facing accumulation of debts. In addition, the creditors filed lawsuits against him, which forced him to close his only means of earning a livelihood. He is currently suffering due to the debts he owes his creditors, prompting him to announce that he may leave the country.
If the government was serious about supporting such projects, it would have done what all the Gulf states, actually most countries of the world, even those less wealthier than Kuwait, did.
Those countries waived off the debts of small debtors and the owners of small enterprises. They even dropped the debts and interests on housing loans, like how Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and even Bahrain did. The only alternative was to make matters worse by flooding them with many problems that would negatively affect their social lives, and cause economic consequences.
Your Highness the Amir and Your Highness the Crown Prince … Suppose that an earthquake – God forbid – struck the country … Would the government refuse to provide aid to the affected people because this does not ensure social justice – a claim being made by envious people who do not want good for the people and are justifying their position by saying the repayment of small loans will lead to the creation of a moral risk of social justice?
There is no doubt that these people do not want to solve this issue because it will lead to the loss of some of the privileges they enjoy. However, they do not see that this leads to more economic contraction. There are dozens of solutions that are not getting attention, leaving people mired in debt.
The loans required to be dropped do not exceed KD 1.6 billion. On the other hand, the loans and grants of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development amount to KD 7 billion distributed to over 107 countries. Most of these will either not be paid back, or their interest return does not exceed 2.5 percent and they can be paid in installments for a period of over forty years.
We all know that these loans are issued according to certain frameworks. Some of them are for non-influential political positions or special interests. Despite this, we will not review them now, but a time may come when we will talk in detail about them, and about the scandals involving them.
For now, we beg to ask – Who deserves that money? Is it the citizens – the main pillar of this country, its regime and its rule – or the distant countries? What did we benefit from some of those countries during the time of our historical crisis, I mean the Iraqi invasion?
If the relevant institutions such as the government, the National Assembly, the Central Bank, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development operated according to the popular proverb “Your uncle’s money does not concern”, then it is pushing the country to a great disaster. It is applying the popular proverb “Miser’s money ends up in a cheater’s pocket” because it is stingy towards its own people but spends on strangers.
Your Highness the Amir and Your Highness the Crown Prince … Kuwaitis are getting tired of the impasse.
Although the government and the National Assembly hear the screams of the people due to their suffering, they do not do anything to alleviate their pain. Therefore Kuwaitis, due to the aggravation of the crisis, are moving away day after day from those in charge … It is as if we are facing a conspiracy to remove people from their regime.
We hope the alleged figures that the loans amount to KD 16 billion did not cause any effect, because it is common knowledge that there are people who do not want good for others. The actual sum does not exceed KD 2 billion, so it is necessary to stop this broken rhetoric about social injustice by addressing and redressing the issue of debtors.
Your Highness the Amir and Your Highness the Crown Prince … Your people need you. They have become exhausted of the government and the National Assembly, which are focused on their futile quarrels. The people place their hopes on you to save them from financial misery.
For how long will we wait? As long as the good of the state is great and abundant, you will not need to borrow, like some countries did, in order to end the suffering of your people and make them happy.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times