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