Minister Calls for Raising Income Tax, Warns Against Soaring Public Debt!

تم نشره في Tue 8 August / Aug 2017. 12:00 AM
  • A side of the meet between Minister of Finance Omar Malhas and Parliamentary Economy and Investment Committee - (AlGhad)
  • Minister of Finance Omar Malhas

AMMAN —AlGhad— Were it not for the reforms last year, Jordan would have ended up like Greece, said the Minister of Finance, Omar Malhas, stated yesterday, Monday, during a meet with the Parliamentary Economy and Investment Committee.

More so, Malhas warned against the increase of public debt, confirming that the moment it crosses the 100 per cent debt-to-GDP rate, it is difficult to drive down.

Expanding the taxable demographic base, said Malhas, was a measure imposed by the Financial and Economic AP Committee, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the US.

It will not increase public revenues, Malhas underscored, but it is part of a complex reforms programme, and we must stick to amendments.

The IMF and Washington, according to the Minister, insist on an expanded taxable base.

It does not make sense to them, that only 3 per cent of the Jordanian population pay taxes. American citizens who make USD40,000 annually pay taxes, parts of which, in total, go to Jordan via aid, while Jordanians who make the equivalent sum do not, Malhas said.

Individual income taxes comprise 0.4 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP, while in other countries, like Egypt, it touches on 10 per cent, the minister highlighted.

In response to the Minister’s claims, Head of the MP Committee, Kheir Abul Suailik, said hat Jordanian citizens pay an incomparable portion of their incomes in taxes.

Jordanians pay far more than so many citizens in other countries do, especially in comparison to citizens who receive public services in their countries, far better than the services Jordanians receive.

Moreover, Abul Suailik said that removing exemptions for Jordanian households will only worsen the economic situation, and increase pressures on citizens.

“We’d best not tamper with the income tax law” warned the MP, “for any such meddling will reflect negatively on the public”.

The government must confer with the MP Committee and blocs before submitting the finalised bill to the House for ratification.

Meanwhile, Malhas has reaffirmed that amending the income tax law is both legislatively sounder, as well as a prerequisite by the IMF.