Do You Realise The Scale of Challenges That Lie Ahead?

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Tue 18 October / Oct 2016. 11:00 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

Over the last few years, the social segment with fixed incomes faced up to a multitude of difficult, even coarse factors that extended to affect even middle class segment, affecting these segments chances of securing decent lives, shielded from need.

Typically, the less fortunate segments sustained their struggle over these years, helpless to a huge extent, in the endeavour to sustain their status, as unfair and difficult as is. Still, failingly, they could not; their incomes are not enough, even with slight increases, to safeguard their lives from the perils of difficult time.

On top of all these straining conditions that weighed heavy on middle-income segments, and even more on those with lower incomes, decisions passed by the previous government, including the floating of fuel derivative prices, the increase of electricity tariffs, and the imposition of new fees and taxes, as well as the increase of current ones, all together comprised a critical blow to these families’ economic security.

Unfortunately, their suffering, and this imminent calamity, will not be put to rest by the current government, which has so far taken similar decisions, just as destabilising to the living standards of most citizens. More so, they have contributed just as much to the rise in poverty and unemployment in a society that is for the most part still to face further strains under the culminating pressures of more increase in prices and living costs.

Certainly, this “Social Security Net” our governments pride themselves with has failed in protecting the majority of Jordanian families, because they are already excluded; most of them do not fall under the official criteria of poverty, and thus do not qualify for the national welfare. Simultaneously, these families are not well off; they cannot dispense government “charities”.

In this regard, multiple strategic questions pose themselves for officials to answer now, today; that they may reflect on the outcomes of their policies. First, a review of the economic segmentation criteria has to be conducted so as to figure out exactly where social segments with limited incomes exactly stand. Two, how do they feel about their citizenship? Do they at all feel like they belong? In light of utter inability to secure a decent life, do they at all feel at home? Do they want to leave? Have psychological and sociological studies been conducted to explain shifts in societal patterns and their percussions? Have there been suggested any plans to address them?

We have always maintained that the priorities of Jordanians are economic; their troubles and concerns of livelihood, according to the surveys of public opinion. Unemployment among youth, for example, is much more dangerous than some think; suspending their energies turns them only into ticking time bombs, and we need to defuse their suffocating charges sooner than later.

The State can speak all they want to citizens on strategies and planes for development; and we as journalists and media personnel are allowed to publicise it as much as we want. Still, nothing suffices of that sort for a household incapacitated in the most basic realms of security; covering basic life expense. That, just as well, all the statements and talk, will not reignite hope for a widow with four university graduates who cannot find a job. More so, the public mood will not better for as long as the tax payer is not served properly; particularly in regards to a decent education, medical services, and a comfortable infrastructure to say the least.

Economically speaking, we need to go through all the conditions that add to the pressures on society, including regional ones. However pressing, a more suffocating issue is that of public freedoms, continuously receding, in the absence of fair and wise governance, and the spread of Wasta and favouritism, weakening opportunities and so on so forth… why do we go through all that every time? Well, in hopes that we may realise the real scale of challenges and variables constantly changing in our society, particularly since everything that is going on now has had us on the edge for a while.

To answer these questions, which may very well be obvious, we need to take a thorough look into the status of fixed and limited income segments and the deterioration that has taken place so far, before further decisions to raise prices are passed; these segments of our society can take no more hits!