Pre­vi­ous MPs did not play their role in the proper way: Al-Saeed Can­di­date ex­plains how ‘in­vest­ing’ in oil can solve eco­nomic cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Nawara Fat­ta­hova

KUWAIT: Ab­dul­mohsin Kha­laf Al-Saeed is a first-time can­di­date run­ning in the elec­tions from the third con­stituency. He is a banker, and has many ideas and so­lu­tions to de­velop the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to him, both the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive au­thor­i­ties are not ac­tive, as there are many im­prove­ments and de­vel­op­ments that can be done in Kuwait. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in­spired him to run in the elec­tions.

“Pre­vi­ous MPs did not play their role in the proper way. Par­lia­ment mem­bers should both leg­is­late and con­trol ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion. Look­ing back at the pre­vi­ous par­lia­ments, we no­tice that the gov­ern­ment was sug­gest­ing laws much more than the par­lia­ment, while it should be the op­po­site,” Saeed told Kuwait Times. “The in­ter­nal rules of the par­lia­ment should be changed. To sub­mit a law pro­posal in the par­lia­ment, an MP needs two other sup­port­ers, which I think is in­cor­rect,” he said.

Eco­nomic re­forms

“The steps taken for eco­nomic re­forms were not cor­rect. Re­forms should start with busi­ness­men and not sim­ple peo­ple. I have al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions for this is­sue, which will avoid tak­ing such mea­sures. Kuwait de­pends on nat­u­ral re­sources which were not cre­ated by peo­ple, so its econ­omy is strong. The mis­take is that we are not in­vest­ing in this wealth.

“We can over­come the present cri­sis by in­vest­ing in the oil sec­tor. They buy a bar­rel of our oil for $40, then sell it back to us for $400 through the prod­ucts we im­port. We can cor­rect the bud­get deficit by this idea of in­vest­ing in oil. Kuwait sells three mil­lion bar­rels of oil daily, which can’t cover the bud­get deficit, and this causes anx­i­ety to those who are re­lated to the econ­omy. So when the oil price rises, they feel happy and sat­is­fied, and are wor­ried if the price drops, as they know it will have a bad im­pact on them.

“The so­lu­tion is very sim­ple with­out all these re­forms. The so­lu­tion is in in­vest­ing in oil in the same way as de­vel­oped coun­tries, so we can pro­duce raw ma­te­ri­als which we can sell. This will bring a much big­ger in­come than what we get from sell­ing crude oil. Un­for­tu­nately, both the par­lia­ment and Cab­i­net ig­nored this is­sue for many years, al­though it can be re­al­ized by is­su­ing a law that al­lows for­eign oil com­pa­nies to work in Kuwait.

“Pro­duc­ing raw ma­te­rial and other prod­ucts such as medicine, rub­ber, etc will in­crease the gross na­tional prod­uct (GNP), and Kuwait will be­come a man­u­fac­tur­ing coun­try - at least of oil prod­ucts - as we don’t have a real econ­omy due to not hav­ing any agri­cul­ture or an­i­mal hus­bandry. Kuwait can be­come bank­rupt within 10 years if it starts de­pend­ing com­pletely on re­new­able en­ergy. This may hap­pen if we don’t de­velop the oil sec­tor.

“If this law passes in the par­lia­ment, it will pro­vide hun­dreds of jobs and will elim­i­nate un­em­ploy­ment. I have con­ducted many stud­ies with my col­leagues through which we found that the oil sec­tor is the only sec­tor that didn’t stop dur­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis and was not af­fected. This law will also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for small com­pa­nies that will work as sub­con­trac­tors in a sim­i­lar way to what hap­pened in 2003, when many small com­pa­nies worked with the US Army and over $6 mil­lion was spent.

“To­day, the oc­cu­pa­tion is dif­fer­ent. Kuwait is forced to make half of its in­vest­ments in­side the coun­try and the other half out­side by in­vest­ing in US trea­sury bonds or sov­er­eign wealth funds, so we spend abroad and our money stays there.”

Petrol price hike

“The im­pact of the petrol price hike is not vis­i­ble yet, but peo­ple will no­tice it soon, as the price of most prod­ucts and ser­vices will go up as a re­sult. The par­lia­ment didn’t dis­cuss this point when they ap­proved giv­ing a coupon for free petrol, but didn’t give coupons for other com­modi­ties and prod­ucts. The big­gest cause of this cri­sis in the na­tional bud­get is due to med­i­cal treat­ment abroad, which con­sumes KD 740 mil­lion per year. The min­is­ter of health should be grilled and not the min­is­ter of com­merce.”

Health

“The doc­tors here are not highly qual­i­fied, so the pa­tient has to visit more doc­tors and get more di­ag­noses. We also see many med­i­cal er­rors, and re­cently a for­mer MP died af­ter a wrong surgery. The gov­ern­ment is spend­ing around KD 1,200 per per­son per year on health­care, as the bud­get for med­i­cal treat­ment abroad is KD 740 mil­lion, in ad­di­tion to the bud­get of the health min­istry. This huge fig­ure can pro­vide the best health­care in­clud­ing ser­vices and staff.

“The so­lu­tion to this wrong sit­u­a­tion is by is­su­ing leg­is­la­tion that forces the min­istry of health to de­velop the health sec­tor in Kuwait. It should also es­tab­lish a re­search cen­ter to train med­i­cal staff. This is a na­tional project that will be wel­comed by all MPs. This will re­al­ize the dream of all Kuwaiti doc­tors to have a Kuwaiti board in the same way as other de­vel­oped coun­tries.

“This will shift med­i­cal treat­ment in­side the coun­try in­stead of trav­el­ing abroad for this pur­pose. This will also cre­ate med­i­cal tourism into Kuwait, and vis­i­tors from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries will come to get med­i­cal treat­ment in Kuwait, and it will be­come a med­i­cal and man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter.”

Ed­u­ca­tion

“Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics is­sued by the min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion, the gov­ern­ment spends KD 3,600 per year on each Kuwaiti stu­dent. This fig­ure is a shock to any cit­i­zen. With this amount, we ex­pect to have a much bet­ter stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion, as we spend a lot and the out­come is bad. The teacher is the most im­por­tant fac­tor in ed­u­ca­tion. Teach­ers here are not proud of their pro­fes­sion, while in the West teach­ers are proud of their job. Teach­ers here are not re­spected too, so we should is­sue a law that pro­tects their rights.

“We also should es­tab­lish a cen­ter to pre­pare the teacher to start work­ing. Teach­ers should also be al­lowed to sub­mit any sug­ges­tion and it could be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. The project should also bring 10 of the best uni­ver­si­ties around the world to su­per­vise and di­rect ed­u­ca­tion in Kuwait.”

Pro­file

Saeed was born in 1979, grad­u­ated from Kuwait Univer­sity with a de­gree in com­merce, econ­omy and po­lit­i­cal science, and worked for 15 years in in­vest­ment and bank­ing. He is a mem­ber of var­i­ous NGOs in­clud­ing the Red Cres­cent and Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion. He re­signed from his job at a bank and is now run­ning his own busi­ness. His elec­tion slo­gan is ‘We Can with our Will’. “I mean by this slo­gan that we can change Kuwait for the bet­ter,” Saeed con­cluded.

KUWAIT: Third con­stituency can­di­date Ab­dul­mohsin Kha­laf Al-Saeed talks to Kuwait Times. — Pho­tos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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