REFERRING to the Minister of Finance’s interview on Kuwait TV, and his talk about the expected deficit in the state budget, the minister had stated that the deficit is projected to reach approximately KD 26 billion in the next four years, and that KD 33 billion has already been used from the treasury to cover deficits over the past decade. Undoubtedly, these figures clearly indicate mismanagement, lack of development planning, and failure to take advantage of opportunities to enhance revenue streams and alleviate the deficit. It is common knowledge now that nation representatives used their authority unlawfully in the past three decades to impose laws that led to the closure of the country and the expulsion of investors.

These MPs passed political Islamization laws intended to strangle the institutions. This is what prevented successive governments from issuing ministerial decisions and laws to encourage investment. Both authorities will be held responsible if measures to prevent deficits are not implemented before proceeding further. However, the responsibility is more on the governments because they represent the executive authority, and have the necessary reports and studies to realize the risks and defects. So what did the government do to remedy all this? Nothing … It instead yielded to some influential people, and gave the “thread and needle” to parliamentary blocs so that they could implement their agendas.

On the other hand, other countries, especially those in the Gulf region, which are similar to Kuwait in culture, society, economy, and even weather, have benefited from financial abundance. Over the last three decades, they worked to build a very advanced industrial, commercial, and service base, and thus diversify sources of income. These countries got rid of their financial deficits and even boosted their investment capacities to levels Kuwait appears unable to attain without comprehensive efforts while racing against time.

However, when reviewing the performance of some current ministers, it seems that this is almost impossible. Undoubtedly, boosting the national output is fundamental, but it necessitates specific steps, such as developing laws, removing the obstacle of closing the country, dealing with inflation that eats up employees’ salaries, and swiftly addressing the issue related to labor shortage. Instead of flooding the country with new expatriates, the Ministry of Interior and the Public Authority for Manpower could offer residency permits to violators for a fee, thereby curbing visa trading. In doing so, it would kill two birds with one stone. Why don’t we learn from our neighbors?

This question came to my mind when I read a few days ago that the Emirate of Dubai celebrated the most beautiful beach, which is an extension of the state-owned beaches that are rented according to the B. O. T. system, as well as some of its external roads. It increased its revenues from real estate investments, as well as industrial, which is what Saudi Arabia did. Saudi Arabia will soon begin manufacturing electric cars. It has also entered into partnerships to manufacture weapons and others. As for the most painful part, Kuwait suffers from a large deficit due to unrestrained subsidies, which, according to estimates by the Minister of Finance, consume about KD 4.529 billion annually.

Everyone knows that infl ation is less than half of that; hence, if salaries are raised, subsidies are rationalized and allocated to the needy, this will save the budget a lot. There is also the Failaka island and other islands. We have been hearing about their development for years, but nothing has been done to this day in that regard, so why not give the island to the Public Institution of Social Security? By doing so, it will work to invest in building entertainment facilities and free trade zones, and deal with its actuarial deficit. It will also be an outlet for Kuwaitis and residents, who spend about KD 4.5 billion abroad annually during holiday seasons. Achieving all of this is feasible with a determined will and clear vision. Excusing inaction by claiming to work in “silence” or that “there is nothing but wellness” despite the country’s challenges, is a dual failure. Maximizing the national output necessitates robust laws and competent leadership.


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