Central Bank Figures? Or Labour Ministry’s Delusions?!

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 16 May / May 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), out of all the other sovereign institutions in the Kingdom, is one whose numbers, figures, and reports are far from doubtable; CBJ, in some of the most difficult of times, have proven credible and professional, times over.

Yesterday, a report on the economic situation of Jordan in 2015 by the Bank. Chief among published indices, are those showing unemployment has reached its highest peak since 2008; the idle labour market has incurred 36 thousand idles, for the total number unemployment to reach 209 thousand individuals.

Are these figures and results shocking and surprising?

Well, the answer depends on the light by which these results are viewed.

If these outcomes are to be viewed from a governmental perspective, they are indeed surprising, and are not at all accurate. The Ministry of Labour, as the specialised respective authority in this regard, has been reassuring year after year, last year as well, with or without occasion that unemployment in Jordan is declining. They have recurrently upheld their statements with documented figures of the thousands of jobs they provided, with manifests of names recruited in the employment campaigns the Ministry supervised.

In terms of credibility, the report published in “Al Ghad” issue of the day before last, conducted and prepared by colleague Rania Sarayrah, exposed very frustrating results, indicating official manipulation of facts and figures.

That aside, the Ministry of Labour has often insisted that they have really provided thousands of jobs to Jordanians last year, and that employment rates have indeed decreased. In this discourse, the Central Bank’s report, as well, puts out a staggering, surprising, shocking result, and disappointing, really, to the government. Unless the Ministry would like to de-validate CBJ’s report, which is not expectedly something they would dare do.

That too, aside; this rosy view the Labour Ministry insists on our situation; How about a view of the figures in a more comprehensive and thorough approach.  The Central Bank’s report makes a clear relation tying the current situation in the region with market indices in Jordan, including unemployment rates.

Thousands of Jordanians, including truck drivers and public transportation personnel, as well as company and factory workers, lost their jobs after neighbouring markets collapsed shut before land exportation and transportation. That entailed a regression in the domestic marketplace, just like it would, and did, in all the countries facing economic turmoil coupled with regional distress. Factories closed, and employees were fired.

Next to all that, Syrian labour is competing with Jordanians over available employment opportunities. This is evident in service sectors.

What is really surprising about the Ministry of Labour’s reports, is their persistence on declaring unemployment rates have in fact declined among Jordanians, while confirming that over 150 thousand Syrian labourers have entered the domestic labour market!

Anyone who views the labour market realistically, objectively, while aware of the exceptional conditions endured in Jordan, would find the conclusions of the Central Bank’s report very natural, and not at all surprising.

The government’s problem is that they persist on denying facts, to brighten up there image, insinuating they have finally come to downsize the unemployment monster; delusional with self-proclaimed achievements that in reality are nowhere near achieved, unfortunately. The government could have kept the ceiling of expectation within the capacities of available resources, without exaggeration.

Certainly, many in Jordan were not surprised by the Central Bank’s conclusions on the rise of unemployment. What is important now, however, is that the government should wake from their dreams and delusion forged in the fertile imaginations of the Labour ministry, about the “beautiful” labour situation in Jordan, and face up to its reality.