Sat Nov 18 2017, 18:41:29 +03

Amir of Kuwait warns against oil dependence

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(Kuwait-AlummahWorld, Sha`ban 11, 1436, May 29, 2015) The Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday opened the new parliamentary term by urging the government and MPs to take actions to rationalize spending and stop squandering of wealth, especially in light of the drop in oil prices. The Amir also warned against the violence sweeping many countries in the region and called for national unity and for combating terrorism that is crossing borders and destabilizing the region.

The Amir recalled that he has repeatedly appealed for economic development and for launching productive economic activities to provide jobs for the youth and to diversify the sources of income in order to reduce the dependence of national economy on oil. "Here again, we are witnessing another cycle of sliding oil prices as a result of economic and political factors hitting the global economy, which is negatively affecting the national economy," the Amir said.

"I call on you, government and Assembly, to shoulder your national responsibility to issue the required legislations and decisions to safeguard our oil and fiscal wealth which is not for us alone but also for our future generations," Sheikh Sabah said. "You are responsible to stop squandering of resources and rationalize spending and to direct subsidies to those who deserve it without undermining the basic needs of citizens or affecting the standard of living," he said.

Turning to violence sweeping the region, the Amir said that several Arab countries have been hit by acts of terrorism and civil wars that have resulted in destruction, lawlessness and chaos. He said that acts of destruction and bloodshed are being carried out by extremist organizations, armed militias and hardline groups that are spreading chaos and destruction. The Amir called for learning lessons from the events around Kuwait and for working hard to immunize the country against terrorism and to safeguard the society from discords and disputes through strengthening national unity. He praised the spirit of cooperation that existed between the National Assembly and the government in the previous term and called for extending the same spirit to the current term.
In his speech, Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said that the drop in oil prices was disturbing to the government which requires a serious revision of a number of issues, including subsidies. He however assured that any revision of subsidies will be at the minimum level so as not to negatively impact the standard of living of the people.

Sheikh Jaber expressed deep appreciation of the Amir's historic role for maintaining national unity. He also called for tangible action to press ahead with development, tackle administrative defects and corruption, warned of naming and shaming unproductive administrators and made the crucial note that a state belt-tightening policy has become necessary due to record fall of oil prices.
Turning to the "real challenges" and dramatic events in the region, he said, "Undoubtedly we are not far away from their evil repercussions; thus we need to be more vigilant and aware, in vision and responsible practice, at this critical phase, to secure our homeland." He called for protecting the society against "destructive ideology coming from abroad, renouncing terrorism and boosting the spirit of tolerance for the sake of demonstrating our solid national unity in face of the various challenges.

He said that the government has submitted to the Assembly a draft law for the development plan 2015-2016 and 2019-2020, under the slogan 'moving ahead for the sake of citizen's development and economic sustainability". Sheikh Jaber called for trimming and rationalizing spending and called for boosting the role of the private sector.