Challenges lie ahead as Kuwait forms new govt, Parliament
Kuwait faces political and economic challenges after it formed a new Parliament and government for the first time during the reign of Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah since he took office in September.
Kuwaiti experts agreed that the country will face significant challenges such as income diversification, budget deficit, adjusting population structure, and cooperation between the executive and legislative authorities during the next stage, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The Kuwaiti economy which is based on oil faces a deficit up to $46 billion this year, and it is expected that the government may pass the public debt law that would allow it to borrow 20 billion Kuwaiti dinars (about $65 billion) over 30 years, while the law was rejected by the previous Parliament.
“The Kuwaiti government will not be able in a short period to address the financial deficit, except through the rise in oil prices in global markets,” Hajjaj Bukhadour, a retired economist who had worked as a consultant in several companies, said in a recent interview.
The government will have no other option, where the parliament can keep rejecting any attempts aiming at raising fees and adopting taxes, but if oil prices did not rise, the deficit will increase and the necessity of approving public debt law will increase, he added.
He pointed out that the political challenges require cooperation, however, some members of the parliament are expected to present several parliamentary interrogations during the next stage, which will hinder reform effort.
Last Tuesday, at the inauguration of the 16th Legislative Term of the parliament, Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah stressed that the government is working in the coming period to develop a future vision to achieve comprehensive reform in all aspects of life, combat corruption, advance the development process, and develop the state’s administrative apparatus.
According to the Prime Minister, this program will include the implementation of measures aimed at combating corruption and eliminating its sources and causes, as well as including mechanisms and timetables for implementing government projects.
Ayed Al-Manna, a professor of political sciences at Kuwait University, believes that diversifying sources of income is among the most important challenges facing Kuwait at the current stage, in addition to the problem of financial deficit, combating corruption, and fortifying internal and external security.
For his part, Maytham Al-Shakhs, an economic analyst and the head of Athra Real Estate Company, said that one of the most important priorities of the National Assembly (parliament) during the next stage is to pass laws related to public debt and providing cash flow to the government budget, in addition to adopting other legislation to implement the government programs to support small and medium-sized companies along with major projects.
Meanwhile, according to Sheikh Sabah, internal and external security is at the top of the government’s priorities, the government is also continuing to address the issue of population growth, labour market, employment, and encouraging Kuwaiti youth to engage in work in the private sector in addition to submitting several projects to Parliament.