KUWAIT, March 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait northern area can contain USD 450-650 billion worth of investment but conditional to laws that attract foreign capitals like tax reduction and elimination of "painful bureaucracy," a senior government official said Tuesday.
First Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said the northern area would house the Silk City project and other ventures which "will enable us to reach out to far places like the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, Turkey and East Europe." Sheikh Nasser, in an interview with Kuwait TV, said Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port would "link us with those places.
"The selection of the northern area aims at transforming Kuwait into an international hub for huge foreign investments ... and these investments will be protected by everybody which will reduce the arms purchase made by the state, because of existence of a human and economic regime that is connected with the world," he said.
Sheikh Nasser said New Kuwait 2035 Vision has been aspiration of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah "who lived when the human being, not oil, was the most important element in the State." His Highness the Amir has been keen on transforming Kuwait into an international financial and commercial hub, said Sheikh Nasser, and the human being is at its core, nothing else.
Sheikh Nasser said the world recognized the Kuwaiti people, as human beings, due to their accomplishment. He added that late Amir Sheikh Ahmad Jaber Al-Sabah was bestowed with the Sir title for his role in helping allies against the Nazis. The allies also honored the Master ship builder with Sir title.
The strength of Kuwait 2035 vision, said Sheikh Nasser, is in its geographical location. The country is located between ancient civilizations: the Civilization of Elam (now modern-day Iran) and civilizations that emerged between rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
"This has granted Kuwait a point of strength upon which it can proceed with its vision and future," he said.
Sheikh Nasser said Kuwait selected China because of its capabilities in equipping Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port. China, he added, also rented Pakistan's Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea for 40 years because of its proximity to Chinese cities.
He said goods shipped towards the north of the Arabian Gulf sea can either go through Kuwait or Iraq, a complementary to the commercial and financial hub.
Sheikh Nasser said the parliament and government should join hands to address any shortcomings facing the execution of the vision.
He thanked Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim for proposing workshops between executive and legislative authorities to overcome obstacles and speed up implementation of the vision.
His Highness the Amir instructed allocation of a budget aimed at improving state management system, he said, and the government was keen on keeping citizens informed about different aspects of vision, its importance and phases of implementation.
Sheikh Nasser was asked about education and said this issue was a top priority at the surpeme council of planning and development.
"Good education is the biggest thing you offer to preserve dignity of humans, and it requires huge investment in students and teachers as well as a great interest by society and parents," he said.
Education "is one of the important components of 2035 vision," added the senior official.
A huge and successful investment, he said, would reduce the burden on the state regarding the creation of jobs for citizens. This will be applicable when investment laws are activated and level of education improves thus nationals would be able to find appropriate jobs, he said.
The government, said Sheikh Nasser, wanted to make services as good as those offered by the private sector.
"The state wants to reduce its direct invovlement in services but elevate their level. It will have a monitoring role and will leave the society the freedom to chose type of services they want," he said.
Sheikh Nasser said "the more attractive Silk (city) law for investment ... the more it falls in the interest of the state." The draft law will be finalized soon and referred to the parliament, he added.
The city, he said, would encompass medical, educational and sport zones. The zones will be placed for international bids in order to have security and economic outcome.
The Silk City has a board of trustees consisting of renowned international figures, he said, "which will encourage capitals to come (to Kuwait) and triggers a great international confidence." Sheikh Nasser said his recent tour to the Arabian Gulf countries aimed at working out a comprehensive development plan for the entire region, which would support local plans.
He meanwhile said the vision paid a great attention to protection of environment, hand-in-hand with water desalination stations.
The Silk City does not violate the constitution, bans monopoly and encourages wide-scale competition, he said.
Sheikh Nasser said skilled manpower would be the basis of the Silk City, and women would play a great role in the development of the nation, while the state was determined to secure equal opportunities and fair distribution of wealth. (end) fz.bs