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New sources of state income are needed
ABOUT 62 percent of our new Parliament are composed of new members, reaching 31 in number. They have come with promises to move our Kuwait forward in fighting corruption, and promising better education and health services, as well as better roads without the breaking of the window shields of our cars.
However, none of them mentioned anything about how to handle the shortage of cash and deal with the economy. Are they willing to touch any of the benefits socially or economically, and ensure providing every citizen with a full house, and not apartments? We know such a thing is no longer practical to achieve, as the waiting time to obtain a new government house is about ten years. Will they make sure every college student is provided with KD 200 per month or every graduate is offered a government job, as currently 20,000 graduates are offered jobs yearly. Are our new MPs ready to openly face the government and state that oil is no longer the future and that a price level of $100 or even $80 or $70 per barrel is no longer there?
New sources of state income are needed. Can the government state the same and no longer take care of us from “cradle to grave”? We as people have to face the real hard truth. Cash is no longer there, and b o r r o w i n g from outside from financial houses is the best and cheapest option when the interest rate is low. Is the government ready to reduce its budget to below KD 20 billion per annum in consideration of price within the range of $45 for Kuwaiti crude oil, while its equilibrium price to balance the budget is $ 90 per barrel of oil? Or is the government ready to face, be honest, and tell the truth that our economy is in a bad shape, and our productivity is almost the lowest globally?
Can’t it be open to starting a new page with a clean slate? Of course, last Saturday’s election results came as a shock with the new young faces full of energy and clean without any kind of bribery, buying of votes, and most importantly, without the involvement of the government. This is certainly good news, as it takes two hands to manage the new Kuwait in the new era and under the new leadership. We are all optimistic but have to walk on a thin rope to ensure cooperation in order to protect our democracy, which is unique in the Arab world and has set examples to be learned from.
Setting examples is not enough … We need government members of mixed background, politicians, technocrats, transparent and most importantly, capable of communicating openly with the public about our challenging issues related to the economy, shortage of cash and alternative sources to oil revenues. This is our expectations from the new era, the new MPs, and the new government – to carry us back to Kuwait’s golden creative and ambitious era.
By Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst
Email: naftikuwaiti@yahoo. com