Our Economic… Predicament!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 9 January / Jan 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Mon 9 January / Jan 2017. 10:22 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

If only reinterring and tax collection helps in our situation, then we wouldn’t mind. Were these recent decisions guaranteed to be the last of their kind to effect middle and limited income social segments, it would have been alright.

Should the JOD450 million our government is plan to collect be sufficient to stop the economic bleeding, the people would not mind either!

It is not like we have tried everything else and failed before turning back to collecting and reinterring!

In fact, we have not tried anything else, yet; we have not even begun to consider fundamental solutions to our economic predicament!

Had the government decided to control expenditures, the people would have swallowed it! Had these decisions come anywhere close to pruning some of the official “allocations” and luxuries, from cars to daily expenditures, notwithstanding, the people may actually understand. But to resort, as always, to clipping the incomes of the middle and lower income classes of society?! This is not convincing, at all! It does not make sense.

The solutions proposed by Dr Hani Mulqi’s government is not in any fundamental way different from the measures adopted by Dr Abdullah Nsoor’s government.

Mind you, Nsoor left his office trying hard to wash off the stain of public resentment and the reputation his government earned for maintaining similar economic policies throughout the 4 years in office.

So hard he tried that he actually postponed the signing of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of its difficult terms, like raising electricity tariffs, during his last days in office, until his premiership concluded, handing it over to the current government.

Still, despite that, he did not even bother thinking outside the box to find an alternative resolution, nor did his government.

Either way, Nsoor left behind him a legacy of decisions which have drained many people’s incomes. And when the new Prime Minister arrived in office, people were hopeful. Nonetheless, Mulqi was obvious about some of his decisions, including vehicle tariffs and fees, as well as annulling exemptions of land trade; which was only to begin with.

Fact is, the Premier’s last appearance under the dome during the Parliamentary financial committee debate was so transparently omening that people have begun reminiscing Nsoor and his cabinet!

Once, maybe, people protested the difficulty of their conditions and Nsoor’s suffocating decisions in jest; this time, and due to our governments, weighed more by the regional circumstance, the situation is not as funny! People literally cannot take any more!

Officials say they need to take these reinterring decisions to cover the budget deficit; the very statement and justification need to be addressed and investigated.

The real question is: Does our government really have to raise public spending in light of the suffocating financial crisis? If yes, is reinterring and draining whatever humble ‘fortunes’ people have left the solution to our problem? The answer certainly is: No!

If it were true, and the government has no other choice, have they sealed their Budgets tight?

The problem is that Mulqi’s government, not a single minister, has ventured out of the box of typical government measures! The government has, as always, resorted to the easiest way ‘out’ —as if, all the while doing without the utilisation of an economic team with the qualifications to address the economic situation; such decisions are easy, even for those who have not the slightest economic clue.

Raising prices and taxes are the most naïve way to increasing revenue.

Meanwhile, pending the issuance of the government reshuffle, I advise the Prime Minister to let go of his ‘economic’ team all together, because the solutions proposed require no economic expertise whatsoever!

So long has economic security been en enabling factor of social stability. So long —too— has that been out of the government’s mind and calculations; at best, barely comprehended.

Evidently, the government stated that these most recent decisions do not affect the impoverished class, whereas the middle class, which happens to be the backbone of development and stability, is somehow completely absent in their ‘equation’, sort of speak!