Investing in Kuwait’s environment

Muna Al-Fuzai

Unfortunately, the issue of the environment is not as important as it should be for many people in Kuwait, starting from throwing rubbish on the streets, leaving trash on the beaches at weekends and not sorting waste. There is a need to activate projects for a real waste system. This issue has become intuitive in many countries in the West, yet we seem not to be interested in it. Why is this so and what do we need to do?
A recent statement by the director of the public private partnership authority is an indication of this view. In a statement to the press this week, the director stressed the importance of the municipal solid waste project in terms of strategic and environmental aspects, pointing out that the cancellation of the project has negative repercussions. The cancellation of this project will weaken investor confidence, damage the investment climate and disrupt the implementation of development plan projects in the state.

I believe that statement is important because it came from an official who is keen on environmental security in the country, and the issue can be resolved by reaching a compromise formula among all. Especially since the project is based on land that does not contain any assets or buildings, which will help in building the facility, including a plant to incinerate a million tons of solid waste annually and convert it into energy, along with landfills to bury the ash.

The project was also supported by feasibility studies by the World Bank to determine the technical specifications of the waste incineration plant. It is one of the technologies that is approved globally for the disposal and treatment of solid waste to secure residents’ needs for sustainable infrastructure, attract foreign investment and engage the private sector.
The director-general said the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects, in cooperation with the Municipality, presented the project as one of the partnership projects listed in the medium term development plan for the years 2015-2020. But the Audit Bureau had reservations towards the project and decided to reject it for several reasons. All the reasons have been published in full detail. The official commission responded to the observations of the Audit Bureau, which insisted on its position, and the issue was sent to the Council of Ministers.

I believe that such development projects are paramount for the country and its future, especially as they are aimed at securing the needs of citizens from sustainable infrastructure, as well as attracting foreign investment. It is a good opportunity to allow young people and the private sector to benefit from working with foreign partners and gain experience. Also, it is an opportunity for skilled expatriates to support projects with citizens with the involvement of the private sector, because it should not keep waiting only for government tenders, but engage in megaprojects to enhance the reputation of the country.
I think the reasons of the Audit Bureau published in newspapers are logical and reasonable, but the problem can be resolved by negotiations, especially with regards to the percentage of national labor and investor rights, because this is a development project and an opportunity to protect the environment of Kuwait. It is time to see real partnership between the private and public sectors for the benefit of the country and the environment.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
[email protected]

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