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THERE is an old Italian adage – “Where there is a will, there is a way”. This is what the government and the National Assembly followed when they both had the desire for holding a session to pass a law to extort public money to cover for the actuarial deficit of KD 23 billion of the Public Institution for Social Security.
The endorsement of this law came through an orphan populist bribery of pensioners, where all constitutional texts fell. The resigned government attended the session and voted on the law, which it kindheartedly considered as an urgent matter, and was able to disburse the grant without the law.
This is the case of the four governments headed by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled. They did not take any reform steps but had instead betted everything in the country to the battle of the interpellations that made it above all considerations, in light of a continuous decline in the economic movement, increase in regional and international threats, and the beating of the drums of war in more than a region in the world.
Despite this, the utmost ambition of our government is the return of His Highness the Prime Minister to Seif Palace to continue the game of wasting time until the National Assembly becomes a ring on his finger, passing what he wants without accountability, and approving what he wants in terms of the legislation that are tailored according to the interests of the influentials.
On the other hand, the drawers of the National Assembly are full of endless series of draft laws. There is no parliamentary desire to pass them and put pressure on the government – either the resigned de facto for not exercising its powers or the resigned in form – while in reality, it works according to what it desires. In both cases, the citizens and Kuwait have to pay a heavy price.
Few months ago, the pensioner’s grant appeared on the surface, and became the talk of the country. Someone said that the Public Institution for Social Security achieved tremendous profits in a year, and then another came out to talk about an actuarial deficit and the lack of liquidity. Even the Minister of Finance issued statements that mixed honey with poison.
When an MP says something, another government MP responds with a counter-statement. This trend has been ongoing to such an extent that Kuwait has become a state of statements without any actions. All this has made more than 150,000 pensioners angry, and with them are the majority of the people who are now throwing the lava of their anger like bombs at the government, MPs and the state.
Kuwait does not suffer from a financial crisis, but rather from a decision-making crisis and the lack of desire to work on stopping the rampant corruption in all its institutions, starting with the one who collects traffic citations and puts them in his pocket, through the one who collects phone fees and transfers them to his account, to the one who plays with tenders for medical supplies, schools, universities and many other aspects of corruption.
It is good for the Public Institution for Social Security to give out chunks of the state’s land. It is important to convert investments that benefit the citizen, and motivate the revitalization of the economic movement, such as building housing towers in which a citizen can obtain housing at reasonable prices, or transforming industrial facilities and other activities that help in the advancement of the society.
Nonetheless, this needs a sincere will and management so that these lands do not turn into a new source of corruption, by paving the way for some influential people to take possession of them. If that happens, all the efforts that have been exerted on the ground will be nullified.
Unfortunately, the desire for reform and development is absent, but the desire for corruption is rampant. This means that the pyramid is inverted, and this in itself is a disaster that must be confronted at all costs.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times