Wainra7at (Kuwaiti for: where did it – i.e. the money – go?) is a Twitter account that lists (in Arabic) the tenders granted by the Kuwaiti government, giving the amount paid, for what service, and to which company. Some of the numbers are extremely depressing, when you compare the amount paid to the service requested, especially when you know how poorly the job was done.
Many Kuwaitis feel frustrated by the corruption and seek to end such inflated tenders, as a way of protecting public money.
While measures should be taken to prevent such corruption, I’m personally not concerned with the amounts paid as I am with the services rendered. It seems that those who request the services – in many cases – don’t know how to evaluate the quality of the work they’re asking for. Visit any government institute or ministry website (examples here and here), and you’ll wonder who signed off on such projects.
Please sit down before you read the next sentence: one ministry website I used (I don’t recall which) produced an error message that the service I was trying to use can only be used with Internet Explorer!
Spending a great deal of money on a website is unfortunate. Spending a great deal for a terrible website is catastrophic.
There are two problems highlighted by the Wainra7at account, which can be tackled separately:
- How much is being paid: This can be addressed by drawing comparisons between similar tenders (and the cost differences between them), or a comparison with a similar project conducted outside Kuwait, and how much that cost
- The quality of the service offered: This can be tackled by setting standards for the services offered to (and paid by) the Kuwaiti government. The input of experts in the field can be enormously helpful, in addition to feedback from actual users
What do you think? How can corruption be tackled? And are you more concerned about the money spent by the government or the quality of the services provided by companies who win government tenders?