Energy Shortage in my Opinion

You can fool anyone with almost any profession except; Engineering and Medicine. With these two professions any slight mistake is a disaster.
After liberation I thought that our governmental system was heading downward exponentially, unfortunately; it had proved overtime that it is diving head-first down.
So many factors affecting electricity and water shortages in the country that money can’t buy.
It’s seems like a big puzzle to most of us that a country as small and rich as Kuwait with comparatively low population rate per area should be suffering from the basic services like electricity and water. But if we analyze the system objectively, we would come to an understanding that this situation was inevitable and what is yet to come is even worse. And because this subject is lengthy and complicated, the real cause of the shortage is often overlooked. In this post I concentrated on the main issues, or the major problems that directed the whole country to this fate.
Let’s start with the annual budget distribution as allocated for expenditures in the state of Kuwait in the year 2005/2006:
Finance minister Mr. Bader Akhumadi stated in an interview with Alrai Alam newspaper the following:

الباب الأول في المصروفات يخص المرتبات حيث بلغت اعتمادات هذا الباب 1943 مليون دينار والتي تشكل نحو 26,9 في المئة من اجمالي تقديرات المصروفات
الباب الثالث من المصروفات وسائل النقل والمعدات والتجهيزات، حيث بلغت اعتمادات هذا الباب لهذه السنة 90 مليون دينار كويتي وتشكل 1,2 في المئة من اجمالي تقديرات المصروفات
الباب الرابع والخاص بالمشاريع الانشائية والصيانة والاستملاكات العامة، فقد بلغت اعتمادات هذا الباب نحو 940 مليون دينار وتمثل 13 في المئة من اجمالي تقديرات المصروفات
As we see from these statements that a huge bulk of the budget (26.9%) is spent on employee’s salaries and their accomodation (1.2%), even more than what is allocated for execution and maintenance of construction projects (13%). And that takes us to the policy of employment in Kuwait.
In broad lines; the government of Kuwait is supposedly responsible to find jobs for every adult Kuwaiti citizen. Most of the ambitious and qualified citizens would turn to private sectors, the rest apply to Service Berue ( Diwan Elkhidmah Elmadaniyah) and await for months to get assigned to a ministry. Service Berue usually gets the required qualifications from the ministries ahead of time. And according to these requirements, it distributes the applicants. But since there is no PLAN TO LINK THE OUTPUT OF EDUCATION TO THE ACTUAL DEMAND OF THE MARKET, most of the times ministries do not get the required qualifications and ends up with employees that hardly have any qualifications, when it actually suffers from the lack of specific expertise, and the Service Berue asks the ministries to create jobs for them, especially when the applicant waits a long time to get a job, in other words; it tells them ”itsarifow”. This created many problems especially in the service ministries (I will come to this point later); these employees would not get the jobs they sought, and most of them end up without any real work. Some would not even have an office to attend to. Other than having to pay them fixed salaries and accommodate them which adds expenditure to the budget. This in addition to other endless problems that this policy causes; Check Audit Berue’s report about auditing deficiencies in the ministries which applies to all other aspects and professions in almost all ministries and government sectors.
Now let’s look at another factor which I will call government bureaucracy in dealing with construction projects:
1- Project planning: although mid-term planning (5 years) is done by each ministry ( elkhi6a elkhamsiyah), no one is paying attention to these plans because they are too busy with other urgent issues that impose priority each year, one of which is the delay of the current projects which will be discussed in detail hereafter.
2- This is the minimum time flowchart of any government contract:
Preparation of specifications, 3 weeks
Approvals from other concerned ministries and government sectors; 6 weeks
Approval from CTC (Central Tendering Committee); 4 weeks
Tendering; 6 weeks
Receiving offers and evaluation; 6 weeks
CTC approval; 4 weeks
Preparation of contract binding and signature; 2 weeks
A total of 31 weeks which is roughly equal to 8 months and that’s just to sign the contract and start the project! This chart does not even include none-working days or low productivity months like Ramadan. In practice it usually takes about a year provided you have hard working, qualified personnel.
Several attempts were made to shorten this period but to no use. This system was applied to the state of Kuwait before liberation and still is with no enhancement, although it has many problems of which a repeating one is; not being able to sign the contract on time and therefore losing the budget of that year and having to repeat the whole process, sometimes with new specifications the year after. The result: a whole delay in the project to another fiscal year. As well as transferring some of other project in the five year plan to a later date.
3- After liberation many professionals like Palestinians and others left Kuwait, others were discharged. This left a void in many professions especially in engineering areas that needed qualified personnel. The only option was to use mostly inexperienced Kuwaiti working force, like fresh graduates. These Kuwaitis were under the mercy of the knowledgeable contractors while they were supposed to be supervising their work. And therefore; problems like variation orders increased and projects delayed, projecting its effect on the mid-term planning and the long term planning.
4- Add to that personal benefits( not always): assigning the job to a specific contractor as ordered by higher management has to go the official way. Hence comes the clash between the working team and management (sometime the minister, most of the times the undersecretary), the team here have to, by hook or crock, reject the lowest bets which fully comply with the specs. to be able to promote the specified contractor. This is not always an easy job for the team, CTC have their own professionals, and that causes another delay, if not rejecting the project all together. And here I did not mention this point as a norm, but that does not mean that it does not happen.
The above was just an example of the legal process needed in any project no matter how small. Bigger projects have other factors to be considered. Now you can imagine how long it would take to build a new power plant or station.

Project delay also has its effect on the budget; the amount allocated for the budget expenditure each year is not transferable to the year after except under very strict conditions. This means that when a ministry does not use the money properly, it had deprived other ministries of that money. And usually the surplus is divided between the employees as end of the year bonuses, all management levels are included (the highest gets the most) and some selected employees if there is enough. Most of the time; people who get these bonuses do not deserve it.

One way to overcome the complication of the procedures needed to launch a big construction project (involves many relating processes) is to divide it into fragments of smaller projects as was mentioned by the ex-Assistant Undersecretary for water projects Mr. Abdullah Alrejaib in an interview with Algabas on Sep.2, 2006.
This may take the pressure off the ministry for the short term and solve the problem with the allocated budget. But it also means that the execution of a single project would take several annual years. And a project that may take 3 years to finish might take 12 years and more, if we consider the contracting procedures mentioned above. Hence; THERE IS NO PLAN TO LINK THE SERVICES TO POPULATION INCREASE.

And on that respect you can measure other ministries.
What we citizens are experiencing today is the result of years of governmental bureaucracy and mismanagement which will not be solved unless there is a big shake in the whole system

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. M. Bouland
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 21:40:15

    fast forward 6 years, nothing changed

    اللات لا يغير علينا 🙂

    Reply

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