What to do…

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sun 3 July / Jul 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

All discoursed to alleviate Jordan’s economic predicament require years to reflect results on the ground. They range, from the outcomes of the London Donors Conference, through attracting real partnerships, to regional stabilisation, which is comprised in the possibility of a sooner breakthrough in political and security issues, in the region.

Even should things go as we, Jordanians, want it to, this does not mean that the results of things working out as planned would require any less time, which means that economic stress will endure, dangerously, until then. That said, the question for “now” is; what to do?

Obviously, we cannot wait on others to resolve our issues over the upcoming, difficult, number of years. We need to work, domestically, on our problems, through:

1.      The construction of the long due strategic solution we need, which entails the reorganisation of the investment environment in such a way that would attract investment, instead of driving it away.

2.      Included in the above, fair regulation; that the two phrases, “in spite of regulations entailed in clauses otherwise…”, and “granted the approval of Cabinet…,” such clauses and statements have driven more investments than we could imagine, particularly domestic.

3.      Granting privileges to Arab capital investors, inclusive of facilitated residency, for example.

4.      Instead of exhausting the private sector with more taxation and fees, loosen it up for them; perhaps decrease interest on loans for projects. A 4.5 per cent rate is too high to motivate borrowing for the purpose of new establishments.

5.      Speeding up the establishment of the variety of energy projects underway, given their effective contribution to increasing competitiveness and capital attraction.

6.      Executing any idea that contributes to minimising uncertainty regarding our economy, including enhancing Jordanian indices in international reports, following quite the setback.

7.      Retaining centralised market control measures, to alleviate the sharp increase of prices for consumers, which includes the facilitation of popular and parallel markets, in a civilised manner, rather than random and abrupt.

8.      Reorganise the labour market in a way that allows for Jordanian labour to substitute foreign.

9.      Tying exemptions and privileges granted to private sector investments to national labour employment, particularly youth.

10.  Containing poverty levels, and avoiding any decisions that harm impoverished social segments.

11.  Controlling government expenditure. Furthermore, the government may begin cutting on current expenses and redirect excess to productive clauses that contribute to expanding the economic base. Subsequently, the government has to disclose suspended expenditures, instead of just sufficing with public and press releases.

12.  Based on resulting excess from the above, the Treasury may work on paying off all dues on variant economic sectors, to sustain performance and perhaps help attain required growth.

13.  Enhance public services; not through increased expenditures as done before, but through guided, effective, spending.

14.  Refraining from breaking the ceiling of the general budget, regardless the reason. On this particular matter, public spending over the past few years has increased by about JOD6 billion, from JOD5 billion to JOD11 billion, while failing to attain the targeted 8 per cent growth in GDP, which rests today, at best, at 3 per cent.

15.  Foregoing the reinterring model in aggregating revenue; it will not solve any of the problems extended by the government, which does not seem to realise the threat incurred by that to general stability. All their research proves only that their policies, in total, have failed brewing more revenue; total increase attained off reinterring policies over the years have reached no more than JOD3.00!

16.  Maintaining contact with Donor countries, Gulf countries in particular, to see through the conclusion of the projects initiated by the Gulf Grant, and suspended.

Those just a few ideas to begin with; there must be plenty of other ideas to help alleviate the intensity of the crisis.