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Press Dossier    By Date   14/01/2023 Real reform needed to bolster job generation for Kuwaiti youth

Kuwait Times, Saturday, Jan 14, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 21, 1444

Real reform needed to bolster job generation for Kuwaiti youth

Kuwait: Kuwait is the only country in the world whose public budget has relied 90 percent on oil revenues for nearly 60 years. The average price of Kuwait oil per barrel dropped from $107.33 last April, the beginning of the current FY 2022/2023, to an average of $79.21 per barrel since the beginning January till last Wednesday, indicating a decline by-26.2 percent.

Once again, Kuwait is the only country in the world whose educational institutions will graduate about 100,000 young men and women over the next four years without knowing where and how to employ them or a spatial capacity in case an artificial job is available. Kuwait’s public administration has no vision of the social, political, and financial pressures this could cause during that period, not to mention the unbearable pressures of the distant future.

Its public administration’s concern is to buy loyalties, which is okay if that imposes some financial cost on the decision-makers. But this is an unjust theft at the expense of the future of its youth that are the majority, and theft of the rights of all its future generations. We believe that the government has consumed more than KD 4 billion to ensure its continuity in the form of rewards for the front ranks, swapping annual leaves for cash, postponing loan installments, retirees’ grants, exceptional pensions, doubling the salaries of their ministers, etc. Supplementing the attrition is now in the hands of some deputies without any assurance of its stability.

In an interview with the IMF Chairperson, Christina Georgieva said she was pessimistic for the future outlook for the three leading global economies, ie USA, albeit the best, the EU and China, all of which are massive economies with diversified sources of income. She advises them to be keen on developing their public revenues and real rationalization for their public expenditures in anticipation of the turbulent future, and the World Bank reiterated similar warnings and expectations. The former British Prime Minister made the mistake of adopting uncontrolled financial policies described by the IMF chairperson as leading a vehicle with drivers, one pressing hard on the gas pedal and the other presses hardly on the brakes. As a result, she lost her position only one month later.

These three massive economies are the real engine of demand for oil. With the pressures that their weak growth may cause on the prices of financial assets, with a European retaliatory attack on oil with the waning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Kuwait, which entirely depends on oil, continues to act with its economy and public finances indifferently and even denies its reality just two years ago.

Young men and women are coming without a secured job in a sustainable labor market; their educational level is years behind a regular educational and not a modern distinguished education system which prevents them from competing for job opportunities in other locations; besides, the housing project is unsustainable, the public health services are expensive, and everyone is looking for an alternative to them, the infrastructure is worn out, and corruption is widespread.

All these issues need battles, while the public administration battle is entirely in the wrong arena. For the young men and women, the battlefield is not supposed to be competition over the sharing of wealth, but rather to use it to ensure the stability and benefit of all generations with justice and to ensure the sustainability of the homeland, which is the fixed entity, and everything else is temporary. The core problem in Kuwait is the insistence on the formation of governments in an approach, that is tribalism and quotas, and these governments are unable to achieve that guarantees their continuity and popularity.

They only have to open the door to buy support and loyalty, which opens the door widely for popularity. When risks become intolerable, they cannot confront. The sad thing is that talking about this topic loses all its meaning if there is no hope for real reform. Still, the reality of Kuwait’s abundance of visions, resources and historical experience all confirm that sustainability and even excellence are still within reach. The continuation of the “sharing approach” loses many chances of success, and greatly increases its cost if we decide late to follow its path.

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