Demographic imbalance

Muna Al-Fuzai

The problem of demographic imbalance has become the talk of the hour with every change in the ministerial or parliamentary formation in Kuwait. Until now there are only a lot of media statements, but we have not seen an actual plan on how to resolve this issue.

It is unfortunate that when someone talks about the imbalance in demography, the quickest solution that makes the headlines is to reduce the number of expatriates! I personally feel that the imbalance in the population is not caused by expatriates, but by granting Kuwaiti nationality to ineligible people. Isn’t this a security threat, and what are the criteria for eligibility?

I am certainly not against naturalization of non-Kuwaitis, but only for those who have provided great services to the country, especially Arab expats like teachers, for example, and others who came to Kuwait in the early part of the last century and made a real imprint on the emergence of the modern state. But when citizenship – which is a sovereign right – becomes a political means of satisfaction or punishment, this creates anger amongst some Kuwaitis.

Abdullah Al-Roumi is a member of the National Assembly from the first district. He has strong opinions against the naturalization of undeserving persons and has expressed a lot of views against politicizing the subject of nationality. When statistics mention a decline in the proportion of Kuwaitis compared to expatriates, the solution does not necessarily mean the abolition of effective employment of expats.

We need comprehensive treatment based on two things – the naturalization issue and the subject of the residencies and fictitious companies that traffic in human beings. Because bringing in thousands of people for the purpose of making money is a clear violation punishable by law. I think the solutions must not only focus on the ratio of expats, because they did not come by themselves but through visas. The companies that bring in large number of workers without real work must be stopped and punished. 

I think a real treatment requires the removal of marginal employment and ending phantom companies. The naturalization of bedoons must be part of the issue of demographic imbalance and the government should be clear to those who conceal their original citizenship and demand Kuwaiti nationality. 

The fact is that the problem of the imbalance in the demographic structure is an old one, but it remained unresolved until it turned into a complicated and divisive topic. When current statistics indicate low numbers of Kuwaitis versus expats, we need to admit that this is a result of the absence of strategic plans in determining the type of employment that is needed and those whom we don’t want.

Many Gulf countries are experiencing the same phenomenon in the composition of the population, and perhaps the proportion of their citizens is lower than it is in Kuwait, but with the presence of strategic plans, they have been able to avoid the negative effects of this imbalance. I believe that the solution is simple and linked to a clear vision, so we need a lot of work and fewer statements. This imbalance has clear effects on the state and needs a serious ending.

Happy New Year.

By Muna Al-Fuzai

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