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The right approach

Oct 09,2017 - Last updated at Oct 09,2017

In his meeting with the Senate speaker and heads of committees, His Majesty King Abdullah clearly charted a clear map of economic policies.

The ideas that had been in circulation among Jordanians were fuzzy and worrisome.

The King wants the current Cabinet to run the full parliamentary cycle of four years.

His address opener was pro-people, a statement which many Jordanians have been yearning to hear.

Jordanians have put up with a lot in terms of external diseconomies and an unequalled 25 per cent of budget allocations spent on refugees. It is about time the world community, as represented by the IMF executive board, realised these facts.

The blindfold approach to Jordan’s fiscal reform, which had been going on, failed to produce the results sought. The IMF should know that the exceptional circumstances Jordan has been facing are almost insurmountable, and yet, Jordanians have demonstrated admirable resilience.

Japan is a major country which believes that Jordan is a key player in strengthening peace in this war-stricken part of the world. 

We need, in Jordan, to hear heartfelt statements from other leaders of the world, and not a mere lip service to appease a visiting Jordanian official.

In his address to senators, King Abdullah asserted and fully endorsed policies that avoid waste, hamper investment and curb tax evasion.

Such directives would boil down in terms of legislative and executive action to obvious steps that the government must immediately work on.

The first is the enactment of tax articles that would enhance the penalty on tax evaders.

The prime minister already said that prison sentences would not be offset by fiduciary fees.

The second is to review the subsidies to basic food items in order to eliminate waste, corruption and unnecessary payouts to the rich and foreigners.

The third is to open the door for investments without ambiguity, to eliminate dilatory routine, and to honour investors and treat them with the dignity they deserve.

These three major policies would foster Jordanians’ confidence that the government is making the right choices, and they would react to it with positive energy.

The prime minister also mentioned that the first quarter of 2017 witnessed a hefty increase in direct investment.

Thanks to His Majesty’s effort and, in a little measure, to the government’s investment portfolio during that period, such increase could be realised.

We need to believe that hard work with a vision and unwavering will is our recipe to the salvation of our economy.

The writer is a former Royal Court chief, deputy prime minister and member of Senate. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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