Why invest our money at the ends of the earth?

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IN 1976 when the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad launched the Tourism Enterprises Company, I remember meeting him and asking, “What is the benefit of this company?” He replied, “We have an aging generation that does not enjoy the facilities of their country and misses out on entertainment projects. Therefore, this company will lay the foundation for an entertainment structure that will serve the citizens and residents, and encourage them to spend their money in Kuwait instead of spending it abroad.” Within a few years, this company worked on several projects in the country. This advanced investment vision served as the foundation upon which we can now build, that is if Kuwait wants to rise from its decline that has been ongoing from the postliberation time until today.

Ahmad Al-Jarallah

On the other hand, all other Gulf countries followed their path towards sustainable development, especially in comprehensive infrastructure, starting from the smallest projects to the biggest, and worked on human development along with reconstruction. This is because the equation cannot be achieved unless it is coupled with a national effort. Therefore, Kuwait is today urged to keep pace with this developmental momentum by initiating the huge projects outlined in its plans. These projects encompass road infrastructure improvements, including toll stations on highways, Kuwaiti islands, and the northern economic region.

Additionally, Kuwait should establish free zones across the country and focus on advancing its industrial infrastructure. All of this requires investments, as in the end, it enhances the national product and becomes a source of income for the country. Instead of investing in the farthest ends of the earth, why not invest our money in our country like the Gulf countries? These countries have today become entertainment and industrial destinations not only for the people of those countries but also for tourists from different parts of the world, which is what Kuwait must work on. The objective behind this is – instead of the citizens and residents spending their money abroad, they spend it at home.

In fact, when an expatriate sees these facilities, he can invite his relatives to visit Kuwait and enjoy the benefits available in the entertainment places. When we invest sovereign funds at home, we reduce many of the risks associated with foreign investments, the percentage of losses in which we witnessed in the 2008 crisis. Likewise, we will not remain at the mercy of the fluctuations in oil prices, but we instead will have great freedom of commercial, industrial, and recreational movement. We can also reduce our rate of disguised unemployment so that the state is not forced to spend on the unemployed, who take up a significant percentage of public finances as a result of supporting employment. In the Gulf countries, there is an industrial base that has become advanced and competes with its counterparts in developed countries. There is also a weapons and heavy equipment industry. Saudi Arabia employs national workers like Bahrain and the Emirates, while in Oman, the percentage of national labor is about 65 percent. These countries worked on all this through a vision that was born in Kuwait, but we let others benefit from it. We set “pioneership” aside and were preoccupied with absurd conflicts between the Cabinets and the parliamentarians.

That is why it is necessary today to have a working cell that would perhaps be headed by the head of state or the prime minister in order to work on achieving these long-awaited projects. The agreements concluded with China and others will also come into effect because when we take charge of navigating our country with all our capabilities, we will no doubt know where we will dock.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
[email protected]

This news has been read 1645 times!

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