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Public sector still the leader

Aug 13,2017 - Last updated at Aug 13,2017

In today's world, the structure of the national economy seems to depend on the capabilities of the private sector than on the so-called dead hand of the government.

This is the case in countries with free economies. The public sector is shrinking gradually to the minimum limit through privatisation seen in countries that used to live under socialist regimes.

However, the public sector still has some influencial supporters as the case in Jordan which is pushing forward and shifting attention towards the private sector, which is able to create growth and generate jobs.

Still many populists stand against the partial withdrawal of the government from the public sector, especially the owning and managing of industrial, tourist and marketing activities. They see these as dismantling the state and crushing the poor.

There is, of course, a contradiction among some activists who oppose the government being an authoritative power, in control of all the country’s resources, limited freedoms and democracy, and delaying political reform and insistence to leave the government in control of a larger public sector as well as to make a strong government even stronger.

Let us look into the state of the public sector and see if it is melting down and giving up its role, or is it still measurably large.

There are several measures to evaluate the public sector's size and its role in public life. Let us look into these measures one at a time.

The first measure is controlling national income. In this respect, the central government controls over 35 per cent of the gross domestic product through the central budget.

Add to that the budgets of all independent government units, municipalities, public universities, the Central Bank and the Social Security Corporation (15 per cent of GDP) and you find that the public sector controls more than 50 per cent of GDP, one of the highest ratios in the world.

The second measure is employment. Civil service, the army and other security apparatus, municipalities, government bodies, such as the Central Bank, the Social Security Corporation, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone etc, employ 55 per cent of workers which again is one of the highest ratios in the world indicating a big public sector.

The third measure is the control of the economic, political and social instruments.

The public sector in Jordan did not melt down. It is still strong, large and capable of leading in all fields of human activity.

Jordan’s central government is very strong and could not be weakened. It did not give up its accelerating role in public life. 

The government can perform much better if it does not involve itself in owning and managing industrial and tourist companies. 

 

For good or ill, the public sector in Jordan is still the leader of the economy.

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