KUWAIT CITY : The Economist Intelligence Unit, affiliated with the British Economist magazine, highlighted many obstacles hindering the implementation of development projects that are part of the New Kuwait 2035 vision, reports Al-Rai daily. It stated that it is expecting significant progress in this regard to face the obstacles in the near future, as these obstacles are mostly administrative, adding that this confirms its anticipation that the implementation of public sector projects in Kuwait will remain plagued by excessive bureaucracy. The unit explained that the many problems faced in the implementation of public sector projects in the country are due to administrative, technical, financial, supervisory and legislative issues.
The administrative difficulties represent the biggest source of bottlenecks in the completion of Kuwaiti projects. The bureaucracy struggles with chronic problems represented in conflicts between departments, lack of decisiveness in the strategy of contracts, lack of efficiency in decision-making, and continuous delays. In addition, the rift between the government and the National Assembly, which constitutes a constant source of oversight and legislative problems, has led to delay and cancellation of major development projects since 2016. The technical problems in completing the projects are related to the great shortage that Kuwait is currently facing in the skilled workforce, following the departure of many expatriate workers from the country.
This problem is expected to worsen with the government’s acceleration of Kuwaitization policies, which will continue to cause a shortage of manpower, and thus create more obstacles in the implementation phase of the projects. On the other hand, there is a positive factor represented in the less financial difficulties that Kuwait will face in 2022 with the rise in oil prices, which led to an improvement in the country’s public finances and thus increased capital investment.
The New Kuwait 2035 vision forms the basis of the government’s long-term strategy to diversify the economy and reduce Kuwait’s dependence on oil, and it thus will take priority in budget spending. The government is expected to use the sudden wealth, represented by the large oil revenues, to invest in huge infrastructure projects such as the Kuwait City metro network and the railway network in order to meet the objectives of the national development plan.
It is also possible that the government will focus on modernizing the existing infrastructure because the significant lack of infrastructure hinders economic growth and fuels political discontent. The Economist Intelligence Unit concluded that, after the forced reduction of capital spending in 2020/2021, the government will strengthen its support for projects with capital returns according to the New Kuwait 2035 vision during the forecast period of 2022-2026. Major public projects will remain threatened due to political blockages and slow bureaucratic procedures, which will lead to continued delays in projects and a limitation of progress. It indicated that the technical difficulties in the implementation phase would increase in parallel with the departure of more expatriate workers and the widening imbalance in the labor market.