Economic Rights Are Not Luxury!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 17 December / Dec 2016. 01:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

So long has the culture of economic rights is absent from the official and popular dialect. Still, the annual National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) report designated and independent chapter debating and addressing economic and social rights, highlighting violations in these regards.

So far as these rights are dismissed in general by citizens, it becomes the media’s duty to cultivate the idea and educate the people on their economic rights and the many aspects of this issue.

In the recent NCHR report, these rights are thoroughly explored and defined, as well as placed government policies in these aspects; particularly in regards to attaining economic growth meanwhile totally disregarding real development in terms of productivity and the requirements of social justice.

Chief among these economic rights are those of the ‘Tax Payer’, whereas taxation in Jordan stands higher than the global median benchmark. The individual tax payer in Jordan dispenses a ransom part of their salary on direct and indirect taxes, like income and sales taxes, in addition to the multitude of other taxes, tariffs, and fees.

Today, domestic revenues are estimated at roughly JOD7.342 billion, between tax and non-tax revenues, payable to the State, by consumers and investors alike, comprising nearly 90 per cent of the Country’s total Public Revenue at JOD8.119 billion.

Typically, in return for these collectables, citizens have rights; since they’re the ones, more or less, doing all the “funding” under the public revenues section. Prime among those is the right to question and redirect public spending towards social welfare, or the betterment of living status, in the least.

Accordingly, the state is in charged with the provision of decent basic services, which is the least to be expected, especially for middle and lower income classes. Among these basic services are decent infrastructure, public health, education, and transportation services. And the quality of these services, as well as the extent of public conformity to the standards of quality in public services, can both be measured by the citizenry’s readiness to utilise these services and their satisfaction on the quality of the services they receive.

Simply, how many Jordanians refuse to settle for the quality of services facilitated by the public sector? How many endeavour to avoid public schools and hospitals? Not to mention terrible public transportation.

Despite the high cost of services provided by the private sector, some of the middle income segments of society would rather carry these costs than endure without their basic ‘humane’ rights!

As for lower and limited income segments of our society, those benefit of the public sector’s services because they cannot afford the private sector, which does not even suffice to compensate their dissatisfaction with the deteriorating public services they receive.

On the far end are the impoverished and the poor. Those do not only lack the economic and financial resources, but also knowledge and awareness of their social-economic rights; they pray in the face of endless dismay and the public dismissal of their reality! All the plans and strategies to address their poverty are mere ink on paper, the NCHR report confirms, reaffirming that all the efforts made to counter poverty have been unsuccessful; rates have not improved, as the number of impoverished people increases. Why? Because public plans were never executed. Why? Because no funds in any budgets have been allocated for the implementation of anti-poverty strategies!

So, today, and in light of the suffocating economic crisis, the importance of these economic rights is magnified. Culminating pressures cultivates the public conviction of deprecation of their rights. Which in turn is reinforced by the government’s inability to enhance living standards and lower poverty rates and unemployment.

Should the conviction be that political rights and liberties are an unaffordable luxury, in light of the regional situation, then the reality of it would suffice to confirm the vitality and centricity of economic rights; when in fact, disregarding them is the luxury we cannot afford!