If Mulqi Resigns; What Then?!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 20 February / Feb 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 21 February / Feb 2017. 01:57 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

All thse protests call for the resignation of Dr Hani Mulqi and his government, as if they are the ones responsible for the suffocating economic decisions; and they are suffocating, make no mistake.

Contrary to this common misconception though, Mulqi has yet to sow anything. All Mulqi did was reap the ‘fruits’ of failure; one after the other.

For years our governments have failed economically.

The superficial and shallow approach to our problems has left our economy trembling under massive pressures.

Not a single prime minister before had addressed corruption; petty or major, for that matter.

Whereas, Mulqi, just like previous premiers before him have, had arrived in office only to find the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) already signed. And it is no secret that the accord entailed a bundle of decisions, including those we all knew ould reflect negatively on a wide segment of society. But in truth, the man had no other choice. All he could is work with the minute details which are equally important and crucial to social security.

So, Mulqi revised the list of foodstuff products, prepared by the IMF, to see tax-ups on sales, in order to mitigate the holistic impact of the price hikes.

Notably, the previous government had agreed to raise the prices of 91 basic foodstuff products. And it is worth saying that much of what is now, and what is to come, is not really Mulqi’s fault, or his government’s!

That said, what if Mulqi resigns? What then?

When another Prime Minister is assigned to take on the tasks currently designated to Mulqi, will our problems magically disappear? Will the financial crisis just evaporate and all of a sudden our conditions will improve?!

No; of course not!

Agreements like the IMF’s are trans-governmental! Every government to come will have to carry out the terms on conditions of agreements signed by its predecessor!

However, this does not mean that we give up, mind you; we should keep looking for ways out of this hole which has grown too tight for the people, who most importantly have lost hope and trust in our governments.

Hence, it is up to the current government to find solutions that do not incur any more costs for Jordanians already suffering enough.

Hereon, there are two issues that need to be addressed; resolving the financial predicament and protecting people’s incomes. And by no means can one, at this point, be resolved without weighing on the other.

In other words, the government now has to carry the weight of two interdependent issues: social stability, and economic security. But what the government does not understand is that one does indeed outweigh the other; if it one on account of the second, then social security and stability is by far the more important variable in this equation.

Enough is enough.

Contrary to what the government seems to think, income per capita in Jordan, especially in the last four years, has receded to a point that the average Jordanian household can barely meet the minimum requirements for a decent life against the skyrocketing costs of living in recent years!

Now the government expects the people to just swallow more reinterring policies and price hikes?! They can’t!

Despite all that, both the government and the people need to remind themselves that the journey to resolve our cumulated, deep crises is long and weary.

First and foremost, it requires of the government a strategic decision to —at least— refrain from further expanding expenditures for the next two years, 2018 and 2019.

Once our spending is in check, the government can begin controlling and addressing waste.

However, to suffice with the blunt and deaf implementation of the IMF’s recipes for our economy is a mistake. The Fund’s economic recipes may resolve the deformities in our budgets and financial policies, but it will surely give rise to endless social perils the State may not be able to control.

Hence, the government has to address the public in a different tone and adopt a different rhetoric, as well as rationale, in order to retain the public’s trust and hope.

Undoubtedly, there is goodwill in our government. But that alone is not enough to overcome the perils of our situation.

As a public figure, Mulqi has served in different positions, which provides him with distinct expertise to vehicle significant reforms. What his government clearly lacks, on the one hand, is a trilateral dynamic of the political, economic, and service components of the state.

The economic centrepiece could outline a national vision, close to society, keeping the public’s toils in mind; and no more reinterring, while the political component addresses the public and communicates with the people down a two-way stream which would engage citizens respectfully.

In the meantime, the service components of the state institution could improve public services as much as possible, which will undoubtedly enhance the public’s perception of the government.

If every minister pulls their weight and does their job well enough, instead of laying back in their air-conditioned, luxurious offices, then maybe citizens will begin to see the government in a different light.

Rightly, if the government were indeed corrupt, then it would make sense that these protests and calls for the government to resign carry on until their demands are met. But this, here and now, does not change anything.

Every time a government in Jordan raises prices, we take to the streets and call for its resignation, all the while seeing no different result whatsoever.

This time, let us focus on what is more important than changing government; that we change our fruitless approach to problems.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.