OUTLOOK — By Ali Al Matani — Many people speak about the unavailability of state funds for some projects and some of them blame the government for this without thinking about how to balance between the requirements and potentialities and how to manage the financial affairs of a country with big needs and limited potentialities. Those people also do not consider the priorities of projects and their importance for the country and the citizens. They do not understand the role of these projects in serving the people who benefit from such facilities.
Unfortunately, there are also debates that occur in public and secretly tending to blame the state instead of searching about solutions as if the state has plentiful funds that enable it to provide the funds for every project whatsoever without knowing from where these funds are provided and considering their priorities among the development programmes in the country.
People should understand that even a family, and not state, programmes its priorities in terms of its real needs or requirements and its potentiality to secure these requirements. The family compares between the necessities and the accessories according to their importance. These facts should be realised and appreciated by all people.
There is no doubt that the development projects get attention according to their importance and the extent of the services they provide for wide sections of the citizens. These projects are being programmed according to annual budget and Five-Year plans that are being adopted to programme such matters in accurate accounts that observe many developmental indications. There are many important projects like building schools, hospitals and roads, in addition to electricity and water services etc. There are accessory projects and these projects could be adjourned or abandoned.
Furthermore, the programmes of these projects could be practiced at any place and they do not require five star facilities to be implemented.
Yet, some people are seeking to achieve a project by any means. They practice some sort of pressure here and there without bearing the burden of posing the following question: “Are there more important projects than the one that the Ministry of Finance studies to finance? Could this Ministry, that is subjected to much pressure from many authorities, allocate funds for all the projects and programmes at the same time or within short intervals without balancing between the financial potentialities and the needs?
Unfortunately, some officials insist on putting fairy and impractical specifications for some projects and press on the governmental authorities to implement these specifications. They conceive their projects as if they were palaces and ask for very high costs; consequently enough funds that could cover building these projects are always not available; therefore they are adjourned so many times. Sometimes, it is very hard to implement such projects with huge budgets because it affects the remaining projects in the country. The governmental authorities shall be aware about the fact as what matters is not the buildings; it is rather the importance and our need for these buildings.
Some programmes of many governmental authorities do not need big or huge buildings to implement their programmes and plans. Rather, they need buildings that meet the requirements only without exaggeration that may cost the budget of the state huge sums. It would not be difficult to provide such funds and maintain these buildings in the future.
At many times, what matters is not the huge and lofty building; rather it is the programmes of such authorities and its importance. What is most important is the programmes and not the buildings and this is the crux as many authorities spend on the building more than their spending on the programmes that benefit the people. They focus on the appearance more than their focus on the necessities and what benefits the community.
Surely, the balance between the requirements and necessities is a very important matter that needs a financial administration that weighs the matters according to the supreme interests of the country. This administration shall understand that the monies of the country are not the right of the current generations only as the next generations have a right in it also. They shall not waste our wealth in mere buildings that do not fulfil our needs and interests. The officials who administer these funds shall understand such facts.
It is very important to raise the awareness of the public that the funds should be spent on investment aspects that make returns for the country and the people in the future and achieve savings that could support the position of the country in times of financial crises instead of wasting the same in big constructions that are devoid of the programmes and works that could achieve development in the country. We have a clear shortage in utilizing the financial resources in diversifying the sources of income. Our spending focuses now on the constructions aspects in a way that is bigger than the other aspects.
Of course we would not like to say that this project is important and the other is not. However, we should consider the extent of achieving the programmes by some authorities without huge facilities. We want also to confirm that the available facilities fulfil the needs or that the alternatives could fulfil the needs also. Furthermore, we must ask ourselves the following question: “How many people would benefit from such facilities?”. We must be aware about many other matters of such nature. We shall not rush to spend our money merely for the sake of spending funds and increasing the facilities that are available all over the country despite the fact that they are devoid the programs that may make the Omani citizens happy.
We hope that the authorities and the official would understand that what matters is not the facilities or the constructions. They should rather understand that what matters is the different development programmes including the social, economic and cultural programmes and that facilities are only places that do not make programmes.
The same authorities and officials shall also understand that the ideas are made by the human being and that we need the development in its wider sense more than the concrete structures.