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It’s Time to Stop Repelling Foreign Investors

It’s Time to Stop Repelling Foreign Investors

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, December 1

Public-private partnership laws have proven ineffective, due to their inability to invite investors to enter into development projects for Kuwait. This is the dire reality. Kuwait repels investors, and laws do not encourage investment in Kuwait. The contracting procedures are very long, lasting from one year to two years. They are governed by committees and government bureaucrats that significantly contribute to the slow pace at which projects are implemented. One of the main reasons that led to the flight of investors away from Kuwait is Clause No. 19 of Law 116 (2014), which states that the Kuwait government can terminate any foreign agreement based on “public interest.” No foreign company will want to enter an agreement with a Kuwaiti contractor that can be easily terminated at the whim of a government official. If Kuwait is serious about attracting foreign investors it must first address its budget deficit, solve the problem of unemployment, provide job opportunities for recent college graduates, develop educational curricula, and boost its energy sector. I call on the government and the Authority for Public-Private Partnership Projects to restructure the law mentioned above to make it easier and more welcoming for foreign companies to enter the Kuwaiti market. In addition, the law should include a clause obligating the investor to employ Kuwaiti workers at a rate of no less than 50% of the project. Only then will we be able to capture the gains of such investments while ensuring that the country remains an attractive destination for foreign companies to invest in. – Fawaz Ahmad Al-Hamad (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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