Keep silent... It is national interest!

تم نشره في Tue 30 December / Dec 2014. 07:56 PM

By Jumana Ghunaimat

Today, the Senate passes a new income tax law, in a record time of three days. At the very moment, when the draft is approved by the financial and economic committee of the Senate, the day before yesterday, we hear talk about the intentions of providing a new draft law at an upcoming session, knowing that the new law is bad, mired with obvious flaws and needs to be amended soon.

But, why not implement a distorted law, when the argument is maintaining national interest? It is always the chord played by all those who fall short and even guilty ones, too; hiding behind national interest, a concept that no one is able to debate and disagrees about the need to protect!

In the media in particular, we often face these words, which carry with them a different kind of bidding, on the grounds that the one who says it, whoever and whatever they did, is fully aware and knowledgeable of national interests.

And because it is a loose term, it is suitable for use in more than one direction; politically, economically, and socially; it is a tool to silence others, even though that measuring national interest, remains — despite the importance and even sanctity of the concept — a relative issue, bearable to difference in opinion, depending on the perspective.

In the case of the new income tax law, it was necessary, in my view, to wait before the adoption of such a strategic legislation, which affects different sectors; that would have been actually consistent with national interests and allows for more time to improve some of the law’s clauses, serving the economy, particularly through the consecration of the idea of legislative stability instead of throwing it against a wall as is happening now.

So, the national interest itself is what requires that the Senate takes more time to discuss the new law, particularly with a certainty that many of the members of the Senate have significant comments about it, especially with regard to the role the law would play — positively or negatively — in improving the business and investment environment.

In other words, and obviously, the national interest is reflected in the employment of this legislation in the localization of investment and not forcing them out of the country, namely that associated with projects in the commercial and services sectors; as this interest is reflected in the entrenchment of youth, especially those creative ones, in their own country, by giving them real opportunities to create their own business, not push them to move to other countries lured by tax advantages.

What is strange is that national interest from the government's perspective today is simply to pass the tax bill haphazardly, in response to the wishes of the International Monetary Fund, to keep his funding window open, along with collecting an additional 100 million dinars in new revenue as per the the new taxes.

And also surprisingly that the law was recognized on the grounds of national interest, despite the fact that the government has some reservations on some of its provisions, and Fund itself does not mind postponing its approval. I wonder who is pushing for the legislation to pass, despite all the reservation it gathered?!

Unfortunately, our people often resort to saying national interest to silence all the other parties to a dialogue; nothing is higher than national interest. However, what is important at this stage that is drowning in chaos and lacks vision is that we meet on a clear definition national interest, so that it is not misused as a tool to cover up the mistakes and sins committed again and again, for — allegedly — national interests.

In the end, national interest dictates that we wait before enforcing a new tax law!



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition