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YOUR Highness the Crown Prince …
His Highness the Amir chose you to assist him in managing public affairs. He has given you wide powers in order to serve Kuwait.
The people also have put their trust in you. They believe in your eagerness to achieve their aspirations and you are worthy of this.
Here we are, putting a number of problems in your hands.
Given that our laws have aged, it is now necessary to update them. Undoubtedly, this is the task of the incoming government which will be announced in the next few days as per the directive of Your Highness.
This is also the basic task of the National Assembly, which must be in good faith of the people who had the free will to choose its members.
Today, Kuwait is at a critical juncture in its development journey. This entails the revival of major projects that were overlooked in the past years due to the abnormal relationship between the two authorities — executive and legislative. This is the result of the failure of successive governments to resolve such anomalies due to their weakness.
During those years, the people looked at other Gulf countries and their pace of modernization in the urban, economic and human spectra; while bemoaning what our country had reached in terms of mismanagement and inability to keep pace with other countries.
The most difficult test was during the Corona pandemic, when the government failed to address the irregularities that surfaced at the time; particularly the inability to achieve food security and lay down economic contingency plans.
On the other hand, other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries improved their financial and investment immunity through long-term plans and projects; such as the recent announcement of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman about the Saudi ‘Downtown’ project, which will include 12 cities; while we are still wrestling over an entertainment city that was closed due to the game of interests among profiteers.
This is in addition to the housing problem, the solution of which began to see the light through the initiative of the Ministry of Defense to give up some of its land.
However, all this could be aborted due to conflicting laws. For example, Kuwait Municipality will not approve the allocation of land because its law contradicts that of the housing welfare.
This is manifested in the islands development project, which is still ink on paper. Like other such projects, it will undoubtedly be subject to parliamentary and influential interventions if the future government cannot exercise its powers to the fullest.
This kind of underdevelopment could be attributed to the obsolete laws that led to the miserable scene the country is currently enduring. The country turned into an investment-repelling environment as a result of the tight laws due to submission to the desires of political and parliamentary blocs that view national interest only through the holes of their own interests.
At this point, we want to ask: How will Kuwait become a global commercial and financial center, and a competitive tourist destination, if people are prevented from visiting the country?
No entry visa is issued to a woman unless she is above 50 years old, no visit visa for a businessman or even a job seeker unless he pays ‘commission’ to a visa trader. In Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman; the visa is issued within minutes or hours, and the visitor does not need a sponsor.
We cannot have a normal capital investment cycle in this atmosphere and Kuwait will not be able to attract foreign or local investments. Rather, local capital migrates to where it finds facilities and openness.
The citizens of more than 200 countries work and invest in other Gulf countries, including retirees who opted to spend the rest of their lives and retirement money in such countries.
Kuwait must rectify the imbalance in the financial and economic cycle. This can be done only through the ratification of deterrent laws, instead of destroying them. In this manner, the country will no longer suffer from economic and development paralysis in the future.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times