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DIRECTIVES FOR BEDOUN ISSUE … LIVING CONDITIONS FOR CITIZENS
Documentary cycle obstruction to projects
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 10: As the features of the prospective development transformation map led by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah continue to unfold, reliable sources confirmed that “the political leadership has taken advantage of the parliamentary recess to evaluate the past events.” Sources said the leadership focused on the accomplishments in the first session of the National Assembly to prevent crises and introduce laws that are necessary for national development.
Sources confirmed that the topmost priorities of the leadership for the next stage include the thorough review of appointments and major projects; accountability for those who delayed projects and poorly implemented some of these projects, especially the roads and bridges; and the demands of the people. Sources also disclosed that “explicit directives have been given to the Council of Ministers to develop work procedures in ministries, particularly the elimination of the long documentary cycle which impedes the completion of transactions.”
Sources emphasized that the leadership gives great importance to the ‘e-government’ project in a bid to better serve the public. They pointed out that several obstacles still prevent the comprehensive digital transformation for the people to complete transactions in any of the State agencies on time; in addition to overcoming bureaucracy and the absence of some employees. Sources added the tedious documentary cycle has been an obstruction to projects; thereby, increasing their cost.
Sources revealed this paved way for manipulation of the law and exorbitant cost of projects under the pretext of ‘change orders’. Sources stated that His Highness is working hard to eradicate such irregularities in the next stage to stop the wastage of public money. According to sources, “some major projects were either stalled or delayed. The leadership is determined to reconsider these projects, including the university city in Shadadiyah and the new airport. Decision- makers stated that these projects were not completed within the specified time and their cost was much higher than the actual value. Most of these projects were not implemented properly, especially the roads and bridges. This is a major scandal due to suspicions that everyone knows well.”
Sources also affirmed that the leadership will not hesitate in holding accountable the seniors before the juniors in order to ensure good performance, indicating the country’s image abroad is tarnished due to the misappropriation of public money and corruption in various fields, which the leadership does not accept. Sources hinted that the leadership will reconsider all job appointments, especially in the last 10 years. They stressed that the era of ‘parachute’ appointments is over, and there are clear criteria for selecting employees in ministries and other government institutions. Sources stated that the leadership takes into account the criteria for promotion and benefiting from the expertise of all parties. “It is inconceivable that someone who has spent 20 years in an institution is not promoted, especially in the field where he has vast experience.
Instead, he is referred for retirement, whereas someone replaces him because the latter has ‘wasta’ — a lawmaker sheikh or another influential person,” sources added. Sources went on to say that it is now necessary to unify the employment package as the leadership has realized that privileges granted to employees in some sectors are better than those in other sectors. Sources added this led to the prevalence of disguised unemployment in some institutions and this has negatively affected productivity.
Sources revealed the leadership noticed that the productivity of employees does not exceed an hour per day, which hinders transactions and achievement. Therefore, a strict directive has been issued to prevent employees from sneaking out during working hours, sources said. Sources reaffirmed that “instructions were issued to the government to prepare proposals and draft laws; which will help complete its program and reform steps, especially since the relationship between the Assembly and the government has been compatible with the general political atmosphere in the country. Cooperation between the two authorities is expected to continue.”
Sources clarified that the upcoming visit of His Highness the Crown Prince to China is not a protocol, it is rather a turning point for putting development plans on the track of implementation and accomplishment. Sources pointed out the visit entails launching a number of projects that will be discussed with Chinese officials and major companies, as they are fully aware that tourism attractions will not happen in the country which is closed to visitors. Sources said the residency and visit laws will be reviewed, especially since citizens are complaining about this closure, which negatively affected the local economy. Sources confirmed: “The leadership’s directives also aim to address the Bedoun issue and improve the living conditions of citizens. The government is waiting for the next session of the Assembly to put all these projects and issues on the table for discussion, followed by implementation and solution.”
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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