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“IF you want to thwart something, form a committee for it” – this was what the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said one day.
And if you want to undermine a country, establish many independent bodies.
Based on the aforementioned principles, Kuwait has become the largest government in the world in terms of permanent bodies, authorities and committees. This was revealed in the latest AlShall report. We also have the longest documentary cycle in the world.
Therefore, when we talk about reform but without looking at this bitter reality and dealing with it with the highest levels of seriousness and responsibility, we will keep going around in a vicious circle, and all the conversations will just be slogans for political consumption.
His Highness the Prime Minister, we do not exaggerate when we praise your activity in the past few weeks, as it constituted a major turning point in the Kuwaitis’ vision about the future of their country.
It is agreed that you are working according to the directives of His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince. The “stalemate” is in the reform process, but hard work is required in order to make your Highness’ mission a success.
These bodies and committees were formed for electoral and political gains, and to increase the influence of the influentials. Huge budgets, allowances, bonuses, and privileges were assigned to them, but the productivity of the majority of them, if not all, is zero.
For example, we have 12 oversight bodies that are supposed to have eliminated corruption, but the truth is that some of them are mired in bribery and nepotism and are based on electoral interests, and are even more corrupt.
Also, we have committees that are nothing more than a living model of disguised unemployment. For example, the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning is supposed to be an alternative to the Ministry of Planning and is working on studies to develop the country. The Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART) is supposed to be specialized in measuring the quantity of gravel that flies on the roads.
In the world today, there are e-governments and online services. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have gone a long way in this regard.
However, in Kuwait, corruption has even entered these electronic services, which are supposed to eliminate bribery, nepotism, favoritism, and electoral interests.
Kuwait is still like someone who is crawling in this field, while in most countries of the world, transactions do not require any visits or much effort from the citizens.
In all of these institutions, there are electoral keys, and the establishment of positions out of the wind, as if Kuwait is parallel to China in population, geography, economics, and administration.
In China, there are 26 ministers, heads of committees, the governor of the Central Bank and the auditor general supervising the development and services for 1.402 billion Chinese citizens. On the other hand, we have 50 bodies in our country. Here we wonder if Kuwait is bigger than China?!
Real reform begins with the outputs of education, and at the same time, by urging the citizens to work instead of relying on “employment support” and random employment. Kuwaiti employees often do not work because there are expatriates who will work in their place.
Your Highness, for your information, there are several studies affirming that Kuwaiti employees are productive for not more than 23 minutes per day.
Your Highness the Prime Minister, the shrinking of the government is a sign of wellness, and the ability to follow up.
Instead of all these bodies, committees, and councils, why not activate and develop ministries? Why not work on proper planning of employment, and work on Kuwaitization, which to this day seems to be an illusion?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times