On Jordan’s Economic Future… Is There One?!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Tue 10 January / Jan 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

In defence of the government’s proposal, the Minister of Finance said that there are no other options available, besides annulling subsidies and increasing fees and taxes.

On their part, the public are not convinced. The people have openly expressed their unease regarding these policies, which are nothing out of the ordinary; the government has always resorted to the people’s pockets, without ever considering controlled spending measures, to increase revenues, as opposed to actually finding fundamental resolutions to our chronic problems, like tax evasion, estimated at hundreds of millions of dinars!

The issue is that the official body is concerned only in the financial aspects of our problems, often disregarding the predicaments of economic crisis, as unemployment increases and incomes erode, meanwhile vast social segments lose ground and their ability to adapt to economic variables.

That said, the facts of our situation require that we look through our Budget figures and beyond to take a better view of the general scene; bring the economic, social, security, and political factors together.

We can no longer afford turning a blind eye to the deformities in our economic system, and we cannot postpone dealing with them; restructuring the labour market has now become a national necessity and pressing priority, which makes all the subsequent issues just as paramount as the first question.This would include reforming labour law, minimum wage, and national labour training and rehabilitation to substitute imported labour in major sectors; services and tourism, which would provide dozens of thousands of jobs.

We can no longer ignore unemployment rates; having over a million foreign workers in Jordan, employed in different fields, with 40 per cent of our youth unemployed, under a State suffering high public debt to GDP rates and budget deficits, relying highly on national and foreign loans and grants; there lies a core socio-economic deformity that has to be addressed.

Culturally speaking, let’s blow the lid on the alleged “shame culture”; the government has been blaming the people for their shortcomings for years now. Our youth and graduates are working today as valet parking drivers at restaurants, cafes, and hotels, which is a positive sign. Just give them a chance; unchain the potentials of the private sector and legislate fair minimum wages, and then let us talk about your alleged shame culture!

We say this as we front ourselves with the real terror Dr Walid Abdul Hai envisioned for us on his Facebook page, and he is a scientist specialised in futuristics.

His post was titled “the Ramada Year”, meaning the year of the draught and scarcity, citing terrifying numbers on the receding income rates in Gulf states, one of which had USD600 billion is excess on a few years back, in 2010, and will suffer a USD700 billion deficit by 2020.

By comparing oil prices to economic and demographic growth rates, driven by culminating problems with will become more and more severe in time, like accumulate debt, water poverty, military spending, notwithstanding other figures and variables, the Professor concludes that the Gulf labour market will dry out within years.

Just a reminder; we have hundreds of thousands of Jordanians working there, are we just going to wait until this more or less accurate premonition comes true?!