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‘Quota system’ in Kuwait development projects leads to losses, risks: Analyst

By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: Development projects in Kuwait suffer from several obstacles that prevent the country from enjoying improvement and growth, in addition to its effect on the economic situation of the country that could be very negative in the future if project development remains almost frozen. Kuwait Times spoke to economic analyst Hajjaj Bou Khaddour and discussed with him different aspects related to the country’s development projects and strategies.

Bou Khaddour said the main obstacles facing Kuwait is parliamentary and governmental performance that does not give priority to these projects due to the “quota” system they adopt, which means distributing money and power among them and to groups they belong to.”Not only the quota system does not benefit the development process, it can be considered one of the biggest enemies and barriers to the country’s development. It is a serious problem for any country to rely on this working system,” he said.

Hajjaj Bou Khaddour

“This is because the government’s priorities go away from development to please their groups of people. All representatives have no expectations and no work plan, which means their performance has nothing to do with development. Their only role is in consumption and depletion of resources, and they don’t care about the country’s economic situation,” Bou Khaddour charged, blaming Kuwaiti citizens. “The representatives in the parliament and government are the citizens’ choice; therefore, they bear the responsibility in the delay in the country’s development projects as well,” he said.

Bou Khaddour stressed the problem affecting the growth of development projects is primarily political. “The economic side in Kuwait has no problem financing projects, and the country does not have international debts, not to mention that these projects are very traditional and don’t have huge obstacles or need any new skills,” he said. “Therefore, the problem is not economic at all, but it is purely political, whether in the matter of hindering these projects from being completed or in the failure to hold accountable those responsible for the delays in implementing projects.”

Generating awareness

Bou Khaddour said authorities in Kuwait who are responsible for these development projects suffer from a lack of confidence, marketing plans and awareness campaigns to defend their projects by highlighting the importance of these projects to citizens and officials. “As a result of this, Kuwaiti citizens are away from reality and don’t understand the danger of the consequences of not developing new projects in the country,” he said.

Regarding the most important development projects the country should focus on to speed up the development strategy, Bou Khaddour stressed the main obstacle is over outstanding projects for health, education, industry and complementary services of the oil industry. “Unfortunately, all the previous projects are not only not improving or being developed, but are also regressing. Meanwhile, we don’t deny that the health sector has witnessed a little improvement over the past years, but other projects are facing huge delays, most importantly education in the country,” he pointed out.

Risks and losses

Bou Khaddour said the absence of development projects in the country leads to big risks, costing the country millions in profits that could be earned over the years, in addition to the costs of project executions that will double if calculated since drafting the project until implementation, due to the delayed system Kuwait suffers from.

“In 1994, we had two main projects in Kuwait, the Fourth Oil Refinery and Northern Fields, and instead of them costing us at that time $3 billion to $4 billion, it costs the country more than $20 billion for each project and the loss of more than $150 billion in profits over the years as a result of delays,” he explained. “The same goes for the petrochemical industry – while Kuwait used to be one of the leading countries in this field, as a result of the way the parliament and the government dealt with the Dow project, we lost big investment, security and strategic opportunities to achieve great returns,” Bou Khaddour concluded.

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