Will the municipality or ‘Awqaf’ supervise our sovereign fund?

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IN less than three months, the government witnessed a setback represented by the resignation of the Minister of Finance due to the assignment of Kuwait Investment Authority to the Minister of Oil. This indicates that wrong remedies lead to more instability.

The National Assembly, in its first session, was also affected by what could be called a defect, which undoubtedly will later lead to conflicts between parliamentarians and ministers, as if it is written that Kuwait will not witness any stability.

It is important to stress that the Sovereign Wealth Fund is the foreign investment arm after oil. It has great importance in countries that realize its mission to preserve and enhance their wealth, as is the case in the Norwegian Pension Fund, which within 27 years has become the first in the world, and invests its assets in 9,000 companies in 75 countries.

Kuwait was the first to establish a sovereign fund in the year 1961, and its assets were supposed to be greater than its Norwegian counterpart, but as it appears that the Kuwaiti mentality and the saying that “all is well” as well as the interventions that took place led to problems that the fund continues to suffer from.

It is historically known that this fund belongs to the Ministry of Finance, although this is wrong because the sovereign money of the state must be directly under the command of either the head of state, or the prime minister.

Assigning the matter to the Minister of Oil indicates that the practice is not sound. If the Minister of Oil is better than the resigned minister, why was he not originally appointed in the Ministry of Finance?

As for making the most important state institutions a field for testing, this is a disaster, because it is not a field for experiments, and it does not work with the logic of favoritism.

Unfortunately, these practices have made the parliamentarians, since 1992 to this day, i.e. throughout 14 parliaments, impose their authority on the executive body, which has not realized that its main mission is good management and strengthening of institutions through the selection of qualified and experienced people, instead of turning into farms for some personalities.

In the past 20 years, several scandals have been discovered in the country, such as the Malaysian fund, and the Eurofighter deal, as well as embezzlement in several major institutions and projects, in the health offices, the office of the Kuwait Investment Authority in London, and others. This undoubtedly not only affects Kuwait’s international reputation, but also makes the citizens fear for their fate and the fate of their children.

Many sovereign funds in the world are managed directly by the head of state, and include the best minds and experienced experts. Work is done with great transparency.

This must be considered with great importance in a manner that the National Assembly should work to amend the Sovereign Fund Law so that it falls under the supervision of the Head of State or the Prime Minister.

This will stop the interference in it so that we do not wake up one day and find the sovereign fund being under the supervision of the Ministry of State for Municipal Affairs or the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, as both institutions suffer from rampant corruption. We will then end up crying over spilled milk, which will not help at all.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 26695 times!

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