Social security and the absence of information

تم نشره في Tue 17 March / Mar 2015. 10:17 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 17 March / Mar 2015. 10:18 AM

By Jumana Ghunaimat

Many are the issues that affect people's lives. However, at the same time, they are dealt with, generally, under the cover of secrecy and silence; information on them are absent for months so much so that the Jordanian does not hear a word to assure him on many of these files.

Most importantly today, perhaps the Social Security Corporation funds, which is the life savings of the vast majority of Jordanians, with what that means therefore of national public sensitivity towards them. The days pass without an official assigned to communicate with the media to talk about the financial conditions of the SSC Investment Fund; as if it is not important at all for one to know what is happening with the fund, as the largest portfolio in the Kingdom!

The current chairman of the SSCIF Dr. Suleiman al-Hafiz, did not hold a press conference since he took the position for nearly a year and half. Also, all press releases issued by him remain limited in number, and focused mainly on sending messages to the media not to publish, especially in the case of the alleged sale of the shares of SSC in the Housing Bank to Qatari investors.

The official silence can be explained in more than one way. Either those administering the SSCIF do not believe in the right of the media and society to access information or they think that the SSCIF funds belong to the government, which is wrong. The funds at the SSCIF are not anyone’s private property, including government; it is the money of the Jordanians, placed merely to be managed by a trusted employee who receives a salary from that at the end of each month, from the Jordanians funds.

The second reason is related to the existence of information the official may think that hiding them is better announcing them. As such, it is not important, in his opinion, to share with the people what the administration is doing with the money.

Currently, there is a case reviewed by the SSC, at the request and conviction of Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Ensour, who aspires to restore what was left by previous governments under the privatization process; when it sold its share at the phosphate company to the Government of Brunei. Ensour’s dream to retrieve the share, not from the treasury, but from the SSCIF.

Such a deal should not be concluded without the public opinion. The logic should impose on the government to announce the details and submit the issue to public debate, so as not to incur new losses buying shares at high prices, after selling them cheaply.

Lending the SSCIF money to the government, as an easy way for secured investment, is another matter that needs discussion; It is not only a guaranteed investment but a support to the government to provide funding for its financial needs.

Silence in the end is a matter that increase in gravity with time. Making any investment decisions in an atmosphere of secrecy, without the participation of the public, carries a cost, even if done in accordance with transparency on a small scale; especially if decision turns out wrong. The people who are being left in the dark will never forgive the loss of their money.

@jumanaghunaimat

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition

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