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■ Continuing to pay lip service to democracy without serious reforms means much ado about nothing
■ Bickering has weakened the prestige of the state and its absence from the arenas of global and regional action and influence
■ The economic corridor project, which was launched at the G20 summit, is a big step that Kuwait was not prepared for
■ Talking about diversifying sources of income but we have not seen anything from it because there are those who deflate the wheels
■ Subsidy is in the interest of the wealthy, and the statement of the new Minister of Finance is a step in the right direction
■ Dreams of the Silk Road and the Silk City evaporated because of personal interests and the boasting that “Kuwait is different”
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11: The upcoming visit of His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to China and South Korea – if it takes place as planned – carries profound and important connotations for reviving vitality in the development and economic fields. Therefore, the outcome of this trip must be at the top of everyone’s priorities, especially the Council of Ministers and the parliament. Certainly, the Kuwaiti affairs have declined in all its aspects.
Sources close to senior decision-making circles said, “It is caused by what can be considered as inefficiency of public affairs management by executives who worked according to outdated laws, or put their personal interests ahead of the public interest. This is why corruption and corrupt people bristled, or they lacked experience, which caused the country to lose the opportunity to keep up with the ideas and plans that were previously drawn up, because they slept in the dark, due to being subject to personal whims, or the game of self-interest. This matter reminds us of what the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said to a group of Kuwaitis many years ago when he met them in Dubai. He said, “Kuwait thinks and we implement.”
At that time, those present among the Kuwaitis were talking about the slow decision and implementation, and the slow pace of development. For this reason, the sources said, “The current stage must be different from the previous one, because the suffering is great, and a decision must be made. Continuing to pay lip service to democracy without any serious reforms means much ado about nothing. This causes further weakening of the State institutions, as we have only taken away freedom of opinion and insults, making wild accusations, and exploiting them for personal interests. The chaos and quarrels led to a further weakening of the State’s prestige. We have a clear example of a number of conferences – both international and regional – from which Kuwait was absent due to it being preoccupied with internal conflict either by some members of the ruling house, or parliamentarians, ministers, or influential people. That is why we see nothing but battles of windmills. This is very painful not only for the decision-makers, but also for the people and their country.”
The sources went on to say, “A few days ago, the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) countries met in India and launched the economic corridor project linking India, the Middle East and Europe. There is no doubt that this is a big step in the direction of enhancing the development of the member states in this partnership, as well as its neighboring countries. On the other hand, Kuwait has not prepared for such projects. For 40 years, we have been talking about diversifying sources of income, enhancing the national product, shrinking the budget deficit, increasing the salaries of low-income earners, and treating the living conditions of citizens, but we have not seen any of this, because there are those who keep on deflating the wheels… The provision of subsidy is in the interest of those with high incomes, and the loans also serve those who refuse to be compassionate to the citizens.
Therefore, the statement of the new Minister of Finance Fahad Al-Jarallah regarding the financial measures that his ministry will work on was a step in the right direction, along with his emphasis that they will not affect the citizen’s pocket.” Returning to the upcoming visit of His Highness the Deputy Amir to China and South Korea, the sources said, “It is important for several projects, the most important of which is the Silk Road and the city related to it, which was killed by stakeholders, and India’s decisions came to bury it. Years ago, the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad and the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad had laid out the outlines of this project, and Kuwait and China signed memorandums of understanding in this regard. However, nothing has changed, because of succumbing to the game of personal interests in this vital project, and the boasting that “Kuwait is different” and “all is well”.
This led to the closure of the country, the disruption of everything in it, and the raising of the slogans of what is “halal” (permissible) and “haram” (forbidden). That is why instead of hearing the noise of machines and workers carrying out implementation, we began hearing bickering between the parliamentarians on the one hand, and the profiteers on the other hand. This went on until the religious people interjected, and the matter became dependent on the bidding of what is halal and what is haram, and not about the extent of the development benefits of the strategic project.” In addition, the sources said, “The State is like a living organism.
When an eagle reaches the age of 40, its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey that serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, stick to its chest, making it difficult for the eagle to fly. It is then left with only two options – either die or go through a painful process of change – rejuvenation! This process lasts for 150 days. Countries are like living organisms, and Kuwait needs this process to rise again to rejuvenate and vitalize itself.
This can only be done by a firm decision, by renewing the laws, abolishing what is outdated, and removing the elements of the deep state and the profiteers. There are many steps that must be followed, starting with lifting subsidies, which cost the State about KD 6 billion annually, increasing the salaries of low-income people, and addressing the issue of loans. Other steps include opening the country, issuing decisions that serve Kuwait, and moving away from the interpretations of what is halal and what is haram, from which the owners of slogans benefit and they invest them for their financial interests and their assets inside and outside the country. The sources concluded by saying, “From here we sometimes have to change our methods in order to continue in the best condition, and to be like the eagle that refuses to surrender to imminent death at the age of forty.”