Minister of Finance…don’t become a scapegoat – ARAB TIMES
The case is clear… The adoption of the Kuwait Credit Bank capital increase law is nothing but a sedative, which is the best of the worst at present, pending the initiative of the Ministry of Finance to work out a real strategy for the development of the finances of the State, and to preserve the national wealth from waste, whose taps are open in all directions.
There is no doubt that Minister Abdulwahab Al-Rasheed, who is a financial expert, understands the loopholes and knows how to fix them. This matter requires a bold decision only on the part of the minister.
Undoubtedly, one of the problems associated with the waste of public money is the oil sector. This sector is overloaded with workers due to parliamentary interference for many years and canned appointments, making it a mansion in which every MP or political stream has a stake.
This fact was also realized by Oil Minister Muhammad Abdullatif Al-Fares, who also knows that the recruitment chaos has caused the holders of the fake certificates to rush into the sector due to the high salaries. This in turn leads to an increase in the cost of production and opens other windows of waste in the sector, especially outsourcing. This point in particular is prevalent, not just in the oil industry, but in every corner of the state.
His Excellency the Minister, the waste of public projects is so great that it cannot be concealed. A project that costs 1 million KD costs 10 million KD. On top of that, change orders are added, which is a legally regulated gate to looting. To top it off, there are the taps opened by previous governments to fund agreements and settlements with successive parliaments.
Since the Minister of Finance is not an accountant in a grocery store, his role is very effective and influential, since he has the power to introduce a series of legislative proposals to fill all the gaps in public finances.
It can also follow the example of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the process of controlling project costs. In the Emirates, if the Ministry of Finance senses that there is a suspicion of corruption in a project, it immediately refers the contractor to the public prosecutor, and assigns the work to another contractor at the main contractor’s expense.
As for the historic measures taken by the Saudi government under the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the direct follow-up of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the detention of princes and corrupt businessmen at the Ritz Hotel in Riyadh has led to recovery of $200 billion. This measure was taken after it was discovered that around 10% of the public budget had been spent on financing corruption since 1980.
It goes without saying that the traditional treatment of the shortcomings of public finances increases the burden of the little people who no longer know where to turn, especially in the absence of His Highness the Prime Minister to hear the voice of the people, and not by taking account of what the experts are saying, which makes the government appear incapable of fixing these flaws.
As long as the matter is left to each minister, there is no doubt that Abdul Wahab Al-Rasheed knows very well that he alone will bear the responsibility in the end, and that His Highness the Prime Minister will abandon him at the very first crisis. .
Therefore, he must now work seriously to develop perceptions and suggestions, and take the right steps so that he does not become a scapegoat in a future agreement between His Highness the Prime Minister and one of the parliamentary or other blocs. .
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, The Arab Times