The government’s carpet

تم نشره في Wed 13 May / May 2015. 11:40 AM - آخر تعديل في Wed 13 May / May 2015. 11:41 AM

By Fahed Khitan

There is a vast difference in the ten-year plan from when it was an idea, and when the document was born the day before yesterday. The baby does not look like the picture painted in his early days; even the operations staff who oversaw the process are now different.

Since the government received the Royal Decree for developing ten-year plan of the Jordanian economy, Premier Dr. Abdullah Ensour was keen on not to overplay the expectations about the goals of the plan. Previous plans were present in the mind of Ensour, their experiences, committees, and the outcome of the recommendations. If the decision was his, he would have preferred not to do it in the first place.

But, and since the idea has become a reality, he worked on restructuring it; he made it less than a plan, and more than one program. "A document" was the name suggested for the new baby.

But this document is trapped between countless considerations, as it appears clear in an interview with the Prime Minister. It "is not a plan in the usual sense," and in another place he said it is a flexible "vision", open to change and review, periodically, and will be re-drafted three times over three years or less shall, in accordance with the appropriate developments. The quotes here are Ensour’s.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed that it is "not a detailed plan for the work of the government”. As for its timeline, it is flexible, he said, and it takes into account developments that could occur in the world and the region! On top of that, it (the document) does not represent all of what we need over the next decade. And it can be added to new initiatives in the future.

He who reviews the premier’s rhetoric in the press conference, will find many other excerpts that throw us all in a spiral that leaves us unable to identify the newborn baby; a plan, a vision, or a document?

For his part, the Minister of Planning Imad Fakhoury tried to clarify the identity of the plan, which was supervised by him in the recent months that preceded its birth.

But his speech did not leave the "carpet" weaved by Dr. Ensour, leaving him stuck in its threads. Of the plan, according to Fakhoury, there is an executive program, and a unit to monitor its performance. But this program will be prepared later in a participatory manner with economic actors, and especially the private sector, he said. That is, the program is open to all additions, while even the outputs of other committees, which in turn still in their infancy, will be integrated into the illustrious executive program!

Fakhoury added to our confusion when he, after that, started referring to it as a vision, after it was a plan.

I think that the basic idea behind the ten-year plan fell a victim to the dispute in visions; an enthusiastic team and a reluctant – even unconvinced - team. The new born is deformed; it is something of the qualities of a plan, but it is not a plan as the premier said. And some signs say that it is a document. It may seem like a "vision", but it does not have the oversight over more than two or three years, in light of the complex and changing conditions of the region

Case in point, the baby does not look like the picture painted by the first idea of the ten-year plan. It is now something that is looking for a name that we might find after the carpet is finished. What we know is, at the current time, there is no plan.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition