Thursday, October 06, 2005

Boring Economic News That Every Kuwaiti Should Know.

I hate reading articles about the Kuwaiti economy. I also hate reading articles about Kuwaiti politics. However, now that I am part of the voting public, I feel that it would be irresponsible for me not to be up to date about these things. Same goes for you. So in the interest of our collective edjemacation, I'm pointing us to this article. And because I'm nice, I'll just parse out the stuff that I feel is important and quote it here for those who don't feel like reading the whole thing. Oh wait, I'm not that nice: the block quotes also come with my own insipid editorial musings.

Project Kuwait: A sell off or sell out?

This month Kuwait’s parliament is set to vote on a bill that would for the first time in decades de facto give foreign firms a percentage of the oil they find.

(If you’re not going ‘WTF?!’, then you probably are not grasping the gravity of the situation. Put simply, this means two things: either we’re in big trouble economically, or we’re in big trouble economically. Anyway, following this great opener are several boring paragraphs about how Parlaiment is in an uproar about the whole thing (big surprise there) and who said what and who reacted to what was said blah blah, lots of numbers, blah blah blah..Valid points, but pretty boring.)

The government wants to attract foreign direct investment and sell off state-owned businesses (outside the oil sector) to liberalise the economy for the wave of young Kuwaitis who will soon be on the job market.

(Personally, I think this is a necessary evil. Unemployment in Kuwait for young Kuwiaties is on the rise. Using this tactic will most likely encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs. This we definitely need.)

...many powerful MPs want to torpedo the plan and keep foreigners’ fingers off the nation’s patrimony.

(I rarely support Parlaiment in anything: they fucked up way too many times in the past. The more I read about it, the more I'm leaning towards this Kuwait Project as being a good thing. If most of Parlaiment hates it, then it's most likely beneficial. Mind you, the article mentions that this isn't the first time they voted on this project, so I'm predicting that it's not going to pass.)

Whether they scent cash or crude, three consortia led by BP, ExxonMobil, and Chevron who are jostling for a place to drink at Project Kuwait’s wells...

(Ahh poetic imagery. No business article is worth its metal without it.)

Parliament has previously supported the government to open up the economy. In 2001 it passed the Foreign Direct Investment Act, which lifted restrictions on foreign banks, protected foreign investors against nationalisation or confiscation, and abolished the requirement for overseas firms to have a Kuwaiti sponsor or partner.

(I had no idea this happened! It's kind of upsetting and exciting at the same time. It also explains a lot of the things that have been going on in Kuwait for the past five years.)

Kuwait pours some 10% of its oil and gas dollars, which account for 90% of government revenues, into the Future Generations Fund for the day when oil no longer flows. How much cash is in there for tomorrow’s children when that day arrives may come down to the success or failure of the precedent-setting Project Kuwait.

(My father spoke to me about the FGF before. Without it, many of the Kuwaities during the Gulf War would have perished. Messing with the nest egg does worry me a little, but on the whole, I've come to the conclusion that Project Kuwait will do more good than harm to our ailing economy. If I'm wrong, you have every right to give me the virtual smackdown in the comment section. If I'm right, please write me a haiku. Sonnets are ok too.)

That's it for tonight's lesson. Now go have some fun.


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