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Thursday , August 18 2022

Who will cure Kuwait’s Dutch disease?

This post has been read 18158 times!

IF the mindset does not change, there is nothing suggesting that the course will change, and that the government will take a form different from what we are used to. It goes without saying that the results of the consultations that the Prime Minister-designate His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled is conducting with personalities and blocs seem like they will not bear any fruits in the face of obstructionists.

Rather, what Kuwaitis really fear is the regret they will face after a short period of time, prompting them to repeat the popular phrase – “It is like nothing was done.” This is in terms of the same faces of personalities that will return to the government, even though they did not realize any significant achievements in their previous appointments, something that makes them unreliable to achieve any positive impact.

There is no doubt that the escalatory tone of some personalities caused the disruption of the National Assembly and paralyzed the hand of the previous government. It seems that the relationship between the two authorities will not be according to what was instructed by the political leadership, because the cause of the problem still exists, according to the claim of those personalities.

The cause, in this regard, is the departure of the two leaders – the head of the government and the head of the parliament – or at least seeking the assistance of another prime minister, but this did not happen. Therefore, all of them will maintain their grounds, which unfortunately has been recurring at every turn for nearly 40 years until today. The situation will worsen due to the continuous decline of the executive authority in the face of parliamentary incursions, particularly its acquiescence when faced with any threat.

It must be emphasized that the challenges currently facing Kuwait, and the developments in the region suggest the need for firm stances, diligent work, fortification of the home front, transcendence of rivalries, not being distracted by the scoring of points between the two parties concerned with the two authorities, and not capitalizing on internal events to increase the electoral balances.
Perhaps these issues were not of interest to those concerned previously, because the financial abundance that came from high oil prices had been covering up the defects. Hence, diversifying the sources of income was a slogan that everyone would sing about but did not seek to work on achieving.

There are several examples in the world that we could have clearly benefited from, such as Switzerland. This country lacks natural resources, but it worked on building a productive economy. Thanks to its strict laws, it became the world’s financial treasury.
Another example is Norway. It did not just depend on oil for income, but instead invested it to build a massive economic and investment system that led it to enjoy the largest sovereign fund in the world.
Unfortunately, Kuwait, on the contrary, was afflicted with the Dutch disease, i.e. laziness and slackness in job, as well as people’s reluctance to let go of luxury and comfort, and the graciousness of lavish consumer spending.

All this was backed by parliaments that worked on issuing legislations that helped feed this syndrome, as well as successive governments that deliberately wasted in all aspects, and rushed to buy loyalty through bribery. This is what led us to this situation. To say the least, it has undermined national immunity and prevented any effort to build a productive economy.
Today, all these challenges impose the need for a new mentality in governmental and legislative action. However, it seems that what is below the tip of the iceberg is massive. This means that the future government will not be able to change, and the parliamentarians will not change their mentality. The country will hence continue to move from bad to worse.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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