The Greater Threat to Us!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Tue 2 August / Aug 2016. 11:00 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The recent figures do not indicate a major change is underway in the current economic sphere. And of course, the more time passes, the harder it becomes to actually induce any real change to the standing economic status quo that has culminated so badly cabinet after cabinet.

Latest indices to “direct investment” for the year 2015 show that it has shrunk, unfortunately, compared to the 3 years preceding; which means that the economy has failed to create the necessary work and employment capacity we need, leading to the culmination of Jordan’s biggest, and probably most dangerous threats; unemployment, in all its percussions, whether economic, social, cultural, or political.

In this regard, data and studies outline unemployment as the greater beast that haunts us, as it is probable to increase in light of factors reaffirmed by the Ministry of Labour; that the economy can generate 50 thousand employment opportunities annually, while 120 thousand people enter the labour market every year.

These numbers, particularly those that have to do with labour market entry, are in the least; shocking! They omen on the scale of the predicament youth endure in Jordan. Official statistics show that the recently increased unemployment rate at 14.7 per cent, as a general median, also entails a general 42 per cent unemployment rate among youths!

Now, what if investment grew; how would that reflect on unemployment? And contrarily, what if we succeed in attracting capital investments to establish projects that employ mainly Jordanians; will the government be capable of cutting the unemployment line short?

Honestly speaking, it seems to be a very complicated story. However complex though, it remains intuitively agreeable that maintaining investment at its current levels will only add salt to the already blistered wound. This, certainly, pushes us to weigh our alternatives; we could always work on organising the labour market process, which is massively deformed without end, so far it seems, and maybe then, we can get back on track.

Down the other line, Dr Hani Mulqi’s government commenced their work with the formation of a committee to implement employment strategies. Following that, Mulqi’s cabinet opened a JOD20 million worth of virtual investment windows via the Social Security Corporation. Alternatively, I do not know why Social Security funds are being used for this purpose when other windows can be allocated easily for this particular end, instead of this.

On another positive note, the government allocated other instruments to fund projects; through the Employment Fund and Villages and Cities Bank Jordan. Now, this reflects good intentions at least, but it does not oppose the fact that the odds of succeeding and failing in this discourse negatively balance out!

Sound judgement on government policies, in this regard, requires time, to set apart the feasible from unfeasible set of policies. However, thorough and detailed review of these policies may help predict the feasibility of already enacted policies in terms of their alignment with the aspirations and needs of the youth sector. Doing that allows for enhancement and betterment of these policies, should in-charged officials be open to suggestion by the Committee they formed, including Dr Omar Razzaz, the head of the technical team for the long forgotten National Employment Strategy.

Today, as of a while now, employment has become a ticking bomb centring our homes, thrown in our laps to defuse. Therefore, everything said and done on reformation plans, projects, or partnerships, will all amount to nothing if it helped not shorten the unemployment lines among youth, particularly, to ignite a general sense of worth and purpose upon them.